BOSTON (CBS) — Hate has found its way into the Stanley Cup Final.
After nearly three full games (13 periods), the Bruins and Blackhawks got past their pleasantries and engaged in a full-on brawl in the waning seconds of Game 3.
With roughly 20 seconds to go and the Bruins leading 2-0, Zdeno Chara dumped Bryan Bickell to the ice on front of the Boston net. Bickell tugged on Chara’s jersey and then cross-checked the much taller defenseman in the side.
Had the cross-check come in the middle of the game, Chara no doubt would have let it go without responding. Such is the price one pays while protecting the front of the net. However, with the game in hand, Chara decided to send a message to the Blackhawks that if they want to camp out in front of the net, they’re going to have to pay a price.
Chara clobbered Bickell, smothering him into the ice and remaining on top of him for several seconds until a sea of white and black sweaters converged upon them.
Out of the scrum emerged Brad Marchand and Andrew Shaw, who said before the series that he’d like to model his game after the pesky Bruins winger. Neither player landed any punches while standing, but after they wrestled each other to the ground, Shaw delivered a heavy right punch to Marchand, who was lying on his back on the ice. It may have violated “the code,” but it likely just canceled out Chara’s bullying of Bickell.
Given there’s so much at stake during these games, it’s almost a guarantee that neither team will be going out of its way to retaliate or threaten to drop the gloves in Game 4 and beyond — at least not unless a game is pretty much over, like it was in Game 3.
Regardless, messages were sent loud and clear. The Blackhawks, who could not generate any traffic in front of Tuukka Rask all game, know they’re going to have to endure a certain level of punishment if they hope to accomplish that. And both ways, the Bruins and Blackhawks know that they won’t be receiving Christmas cards with friendly holiday greetings from each other come December.
Game 4 will take place Wednesday night at the TD Garden.