At some point, it was assumed the two resident agitators — Boston’s Brad Marchand and Chicago’s Andrew Shaw — would get in each others’ faces during the Stanley Cup Final.
Well, they have.
On Tuesday, Marchand accused Shaw of gouging his eye in the waning moments of Game 3, when tempers flared and and referees dished out 16 penalty minutes.
“Stuff happens,” Marchand told CSN New England. “The eye gouge is what I didn’t particularly like, but it’s part of the game. I’ve got a nice little scratch mark on my forehead from the claw marks from the . . . you know . . . kitty cat.”
(Gee, think that quote might get some play?)
Marchand has been a presence in the last two contests, which may or may not have to do with Shaw’s terrific Game 1 effort. The ‘Hawks forward finished with game-winning triple-OT goal, an assist, a plus-2 rating, a team-high nine hits, one takeaway and won his lone faceoff on the evening — all in a career-high 24:03 time on ice.
Afterward, Bruins head coach Claude Julien put the performance in context.
“I don’t think we do our gameplan around Mr. Shaw,” Julien explained. “We know he’s an agitator, we know he’s good at embellishing too, at times. We know all that stuff.”
What followed were two solid performances by Marchand in Games 2 and 3. While he failed to hit the scoresheet, he was drawing and killing penalties with aplomb and being a general nuisance.
And for many, it was nice to finally see.
The first two games of the series were largely bereft of emotion and anger, as the teams combined for just 11 minor penalties (three of which were for too many men on the ice.)
Game 3, though, saw frustrations boil over — something Julien says the B’s have to keep in check.
“There are times in the game when those kinds of things happen,” he explained. “You saw it in the scrum. You saw it at different times. You have to try to keep your team in check as best you can.
“As far as I’m concerned, that’s what I’m trying to do with my team.”