Montgomery not happy with Sam Bennett’s punch on Marchand


“People can say it wasn’t intentional. We have our view of it.”

Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) goes down hard in front of his bench against the Florida Panthers during first period action in game three of the Eastern Conference NHL second round Playoff game at TD Garden.
Brad Marchand was shaken up after his collision with Sam Bennett in Game 3. Photo by Matthew J Lee/Globe Staff

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 Game 3 following a collision with Panthers forward Sam Bennett — did not practice with his teammates on Saturday morning. Jim Montgomery tabbed Marchand’s injury as an “upper-body” ailment, setting his status as “day to day” moving forward.

At first glance, Marchand was shaken up following a heavy reverse hit doled out by Bennett in the opening period of Friday’s game.

But upon further review, it appears as though Bennett delivered a punch to Marchand’s head just before both skaters slammed into one another.

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

Marchand remained on the bench and played 10:51 of ice time through the first two periods of play, but did not return for the third period. He landed zero shots on goal with five hits and one block in Boston’s 6-2 loss in Game 3.

No penalties were assessed on the play, nor has Bennett faced any supplemental discipline from the league following Marchand’s injury.

“I haven’t seen it yet. So I gotta go see that,” Charlie McAvoy said of the replay of Bennett’s hit on Marchand.

Montgomery noted that his eyes weren’t on the hit in real-time, given that the puck was already pushed up the TD Garden ice. But the subsequent replays of Bennett’s apparent jab drew the ire of Boston’s bench boss.

“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 forward has also drawn criticism for his role in some ill-timed injuries following 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 Florida’s second-round series with Toronto last May — with Knies ruled out for the remainder of that series.

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

Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice defended his player on Saturday morning.

“No, and I don’t think most of you would either,” Maurice said 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 Boston of its emotional leader in a pivotal home matchup. It’s also a sizable hit to a Bruins offense that has averaged two goals per contest over the last six playoff games.

“That’s an opportunity for guys to step up and we can do that,” Charlie Coyle said of Marchand’s uncertain status for Game 4. “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 gonna do tomorrow.”

Heinen close to return

  • Danton Heinen skated on a reworked third line with Coyle and Trent Frederic on Saturday, with Montgomery noting that Heinen is close to being cleared. He has missed the last five games due to injury. “We’ll know more tomorrow for sure to see how he responded in practice,” Montgomery said. “But that’s best he’s looked in practice.
  • With Marchand out, Montgomery reshuffled Boston’s top-six group on Saturday. Morgan Geekie centered Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak, while Pavel Zacha slotted in between James van Riemsdyk and 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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