The Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs played a physical game Monday night, and it certainly had a playoff look and feel.
One play, however, might have crossed the line as Leafs forward Nikita Soshnikov dropped Bruins center Patrice Bergeron with a dangerous hit from behind. As Bergeron skated into the corner to retrieve the puck — with his numbers facing back toward the ice — Soshnikov lined him up and drove him into the boards.
Bergeron awkwardly fell into the boards and appeared to hit his head on the glass. Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller immediately responded, as did Bergeron upon regaining his bearing. The usually mild-mannered Bergeron was all kinds of fired up as he went after the Toronto forward.
Things obviously happen fast on the ice, and there’s usually no shortage of grey area for these sorts of plays. But for Bergeron, especially, it’s the type of play that hits close to home. His career nearly came to a premature end in 2007 when Philadelphia’s Randy Jones hit him from behind, leaving Bergeron with a concussion.
Bergeron has had a history with concussions since that hit, which could help explain his fiery response Monday night.
The NHL suspended Jones for the hit in 2007, and it will be interesting to see if the Department of Player Safety comes calling for Soshnikov, too. He received a boarding penalty for the hit, but Bergeron wasn’t hurt on the play, which is considered when deciding whether supplemental discipline is needed. Bergeron also picked up a roughing penalty for his response.