David Pastrnak took exception to anyone thinking he intentionally ran Carolina Hurricanes goalie Antti Raanta
Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour raised some eyebrows after Wednesday’s game when he suggested that Pastrnak intentionally ran his goalie, which injured Raanta and knocked him out of Game 2. That forced the Canes to go with the third-string netminder Pyotr Kochetkov, who got the call again for Friday’s Game 3, though Raanta was well enough to back up.
There was also an exchange of shoves and slashes between Kochetkov and Brad Marchand, for which Marchand was fined $5,000 while Kochetkov skated on any supplemental discipline.
Asked if he thought if it was part of the B’s plan to go after the Carolina goalies — the Canes are already without No. 1 netminder Frederik Andersen — Brind’Amour said “What do you think? It can’t get any more obvious.”
Pastrnak shot back on Friday morning.
“Whoever thinks I tried to injure him obviously doesn’t understand hockey,” said Pastrnak. “We were doing this set play. I was coming with full speed. I was trying to get first touch and and he’s trying to clear it, so I wanted the puck to hit me. I’m not going there to bury the goalie but to stop the puck, maybe it bounces in. He was getting out of the crease, so yeah, I just tried to stop the puck and set up on the power play.”
While it would certainly behoove the B’s to go after the Canes’ goaltending with the state that it is in now, the context and juncture of the game — it was scoreless in the first period and the B’s were again playing pretty well to start the game — would suggest a targeted hit on the goalie was unlikely.
As for the one-sided nature of the fines in what was a very nasty game — Derek Forbort also got whacked $5,000 for a careless high stick he took against Teuvo Teravainen — coach Bruce Cassidy shrugged it off.
“(Marchand) is on their radar, so that doesn’t surprise me, no,” said Cassidy. “Forby just has to be more in control of his stick. I don’t think there was any intent, but that’s not a good penalty. You need your stick on the ice. It’s unnecessary. So I guess that’s how I feel about that. We’re on the wrong side of most of them, so what’s a couple more fines, right? Let’s move on and be better for Game 3 in those area.”
Wagner, Reilly gets their chances
Aside from giving Jeremy Swayman his first Stanley Cup playoff start, Cassidy made a couple of lineup changes, one forced by Hampus Lindholm’s apparent head injury and the other by coach’s choice.
Trent Frederic was scratched while veteran Chris Wagner, whose only NHL game this year was the regular season finale in Toronto in which he had 11 hits, went into the lineup as the fourth line right wing. Tomas Nosek went up to take Frederic’s spot on the third line with Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith while Curtis Lazar moved over to center the fourth line.
Defenseman Mike Reilly drew back into the Boston lineup for Game 3 against Carolina Friday night.
As for the Frederic scratch, Cassidy put more of the onus on Coyle and Smith.
“Freddy’s got himself in a little bit of penalty trouble and I’m not sure it’s all warranted, but at the end of the day, that’s where he’s at right now,” said Cassidy. “We’ve talked to him on how he can impact the game and we’ve got to get that message across. It’s less about Freddy. It’s more about the two guys who’ve been in the league, his center and right wing. They need to drive the line no matter who’s on their left side. We need a little more from them and hopefully tonight we get it.”
The choice for Frederic’s replacement was between Wagner and Anton Blidh, who played only one regular season game — the finale in Toronto in which many regulars were rested — after he was involved in post-game brawl on April 5 in Detroit.
“I liked Wags’ game up in Toronto,” said Cassidy. “We’ve seen him in playoffs and we know the grit he can bring. Being first on the forecheck and the physicality he can bring is really what has made a name for him in this league. So if he can get there on time on some of those we can certainly use it. We want to play behind their D, so there’s maybe a little more experience in that regard.”
Mike Reilly, meanwhile, went in for Lindholm and was paired with Charlie McAvoy. McAvoy and Reilly had been paired together before the deadline acquisition of Lindholm.
“I’m definitely comfortable, for sure,” said Reilly. “I don’t know how many games we had together but it was something that was clicking pretty well and we were feeding off each other. I’d definitely jump at the opportunity to be able to play with him and stick with him a little bit.”
Pastrnak back on top line
Pastrnak was reunited with Marchand and Patrice Bergeron in the second period of Game 2 and that’s how they were set to start Game 3, with Jake DeBrusk dropping to the Taylor Hall-Erik Haula line. Pastrnak said going back with his old linemates required no getting used to.
“We need to be a little better so I think it’s the perfect time,” said Pastrnak. “We’ve been together for a while, we know what to expect from each other. I’m excited. Been a while, so it’s going to be fun.”