Bruins captain Brad Marchand ‘day to day’ ahead of Game 4


Marchand’s potential absence in Game 4 would be a sizable hit to an offense that has averaged two goals over the last six games.

Bruins captain Brad Marchand 10:51 through the first two periods of Game 3, but he did not return for the third period.

If the Bruins are going to even their second-round series against the Panthers on Sunday evening, they might have to do without their captain.

Brad Marchand — felled in Friday night’s Game 3 loss in a collision with Panthers forward Sam Bennett— did not practice with his teammates on Saturday morning. Coach Jim Montgomery called Marchand’s injury an “upper-body” ailment, setting his status as “day to day.”

At first glance, Marchand was shaken up following a heavy reverse hit doled out by Bennett in the first period. But upon further review, it appears Bennett delivered a punch to Marchand’s head just before the skaters slammed into one another.

The 36-year-old Marchand was slow to get up, gingerly making his way to the bench and later consulting with the team’s medical staff.

Marchand remained on the bench and played 10:51 through the first two periods, but he did not return for the third period. He landed zero shots on goal with five hits and one blocked shot.

No penalties were assessed on the play, nor has Bennett faced any supplemental discipline.

“I haven’t seen it yet. So, I’ve got to go see that,” Charlie McAvoysaid of the replay of the hit.

Montgomery noted that his eyes weren’t on the hit in real time, given that the puck was already pushed up the ice. But the subsequent replays drew the ire of the coach.

“Having seen it, there’s a history there with Bennett,” Montgomery said. “Good, hard player. But there’s clearly evidence of what went on. People can say it wasn’t intentional. We have our view of it.”

Bennett has established himself as an effective menace on Florida’s relentless forecheck over the last few seasons. But the 27-year-old also has drawn criticism for his role in injuries on heavy hits during postseason play.

Bennett slammed Maple Leafs forward Matthew Knies into the ice following a collision near the end boards during Game 2 of the teams’ second-round encounter last year — with Knies ruled out for the remainder of that series.

When asked about said “history” involving Bennett, Montgomery reiterated that it involves “his career,” rather than specific hostilities with Marchand or the Bruins.

Panthers coach Paul Maurice defended his player on Saturday morning.

“No, and I don’t think most of you would, either,” Maurice said when asked if he saw a punch from Bennett. “It was just a collision. In a perfect world, every team has everybody healthy. Nobody likes to see anybody hurt.”

Marchand’s potential absence in Game 4 would not only sap the Bruins of their emotional leader in a pivotal home matchup. It would also be a sizable hit to an offense that has averaged two goals over the last six games.

“That’s an opportunity for guys to step up, and we can do that,” Charlie Coyle said. “And I think you saw Toronto do that against us earlier with [Auston] Matthews out.

“They come together and throw together a couple of good games without him . . . And we want to play for guys who are out of the lineup and can’t be in there. That’s why we play out there. We play for each other and that’s something we’re going to do tomorrow.”

Heinen close to return

Danton Heinenskated on a reworked third line with Coyle and Trent Frederic on Saturday, with Montgomery noting that Heinen is close to being cleared and missing the last five games because of injury. “We’ll know more tomorrow for sure to see how he responded in practice,” Montgomery said. “But that’s the best he’s looked in practice.” . . . With Marchand out, Montgomery reshuffled the top six forwards on Saturday. Morgan Geekie centered Jake DeBruskand David Pastrnak, while Pavel Zacha slotted in between James van Riemsdykand Justin Brazeau . . . It remains to be seen if the Bruins will stick with Jeremy Swayman in net for Game 4 or opt to change things up by starting Linus Ullmark. But Montgomery had little criticism to levy against Swayman following Game 3. “No message to Jeremy Swayman,” Montgomery said. “You seen this guy? This guy wants the crease. That’s the will and the skill that we want from everyone.”

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