BOSTON — If you heard the Boston Bruins got in two fights in a game, you’d likely expect the fisticuffs to be courtesy of the team’s usual combatants.
Kevan Miller? Adam McQuaid? Maybe Tim Schaller?
No, no and no.
Two of the unlikeliest Bruins dropped the gloves in Boston’s 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. First, goalie Tuukka Rask threw a handful of punches at Lightning forward Cory Conacher. Part two featured David Pastrnak, who exchanged blows with Tampa Bay blueliner Dan Girardi in defense of Patrice Bergeron.
The two scraps got a huge rise out of the TD Garden crowd that already was fired up for the game between division rivals. But aside from Boston fans, the physicality also had a big impact on the Bruins themselves.
“It gets guys going,” Torey Krug said after the game. “Especially some guys that sometimes don’t have a pulse on the bench. It gets them engaged in the game and then all of a sudden, you’re standing on the bench wondering what’s going on and you see one of your superstar players getting going on the ice and someone you think you never see and it’s fun. He (Rask) stood up for himself and obviously guys will jump in if necessary.”
Most teams likely don’t want their goaltender getting involved in any altercations, but Rask stepping up in the moment clearly had a positive effect on the B’s, which wasn’t lost on head coach Bruce Cassidy.
“It’s not something you want every night because I don’t — it doesn’t happen every night, for obvious reasons. But yeah, you want to see some fire, some urgency. He’s defending his territory without being reckless, I didn’t think. He just did what he had to do in that situation, calmed down and played.”
And it sounds like Rask’s display of toughness inspired Pastrnak.
“Yeah, Tuukka actually fired me up a soon as I saw him running around in the second period. So I was like, ‘Oh, I guess it’s my time now.'”
Thursday’s game against the Lightning might not have gone exactly as planned for the Bruins, but it ultimately resulted in the top spot in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports
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