There's been plenty of chatter about Brad Marchand and his antics this postseason, and the Bruins winger successfully stirred the pot once again during Sunday's Game 2 against the Hurricanes in Boston.
During the Bruins' dominant 6-2 win over Carolina, Marchand managed to goad veteran Hurricanes winger Justin Williams into taking a costly penalty that put Boston on the power play. During the second period, Marchand caught Williams with a high stick up around the neck area behind the play and essentially yanked him down to the ice.
Williams was understandably displeased with Marchand's stick work and he confronted the Bruins winger by grabbing his face and exchanging a few words while whistles sang and play stopped around them.
Unfortunately for Williams, his retaliation was penalized with a holding call, while Marchand's initial transgression was not penalized by officials, who either missed or overlooked the blatant high stick infraction.
Marchand, who has a well-earned reputation of being a pest and agitator, seemed to revel in his achievement. Not only did he effectively rustle some feathers, he skated away a free man. He also sent Williams off to the penalty box with a parting gift: A simple gesture mocking the captain's 'C' that Williams wears on his Hurricanes sweater.
Williams' penalty turned out to be costly, as the Bruins scored on the ensuing power play with a goal from Matt Grzelcyk that made the score 4-0 Boston.
After the game, the 37-year-old Carolina captain conveyed regret over allowing Marchand to get under his skin, saying "I need to be better." He also painted a rather interesting (and gross) interpretation of the incident.
Justin Williams:— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) May 12, 2019
"Sometimes you’ve got to eat a poop sandwich. It doesn’t taste good, and you have to chew on it for a little bit, and we’ll have to do it for a couple days and get the taste out of our mouths next game.”
While Marchand is a very skilled and productive player -- he led the Bruins with 100 points this season -- he's also an astute pest that knows how to get an opponent to lose their cool, sometimes via dirty and cheap tactics. Last round, Marchand found himself in some hot water when he stomped on the stick blade of Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson, then again later when he delivered a cheap shot to the back of the head of defenseman Scott Harrington. Marchand wasn't disciplined for either of those incidents, either.
As we see so often in hockey, the initial crime often goes unseen while the retaliation gets the attention of officials. Nobody knows this better than Marchand, and he used it to his advantage on Sunday afternoon.
Unfortunately for Williams, who is the elder statesman of a relatively young and inexperienced Hurricanes roster, the gray in his hair and beard weren't enough to prevent him from falling into one of Marchand's famous traps, and it was one of the (several) reasons why the Hurricanes were thoroughly embarrassed by the Bruins in Game 2.