|Milan Lucic is escorted off after being thrown out of the game for boarding Jaroslav Spacek. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)|
Mates grilled after Lucic drilled Spacek
MONTREAL — The Bruins were unable to get themselves together on the ice for large stretches of last night’s 2-1 Game 6 loss to the Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
But they put together an impressive show of unity off it, concerning the loss of Milan Lucic to a game misconduct.
To a man, it was see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.
Lucic, who has been mired in a dreadful playoff goal drought, was tossed out at 4:37 of the second period, after drilling defenseman Jaroslav Spacek from behind into the boards.
The transgression left Spacek dazed and contused (a cut over his right eye), but left the Bruins with a five-minute boarding major to kill and sent Lucic to an early shower.
Yet, even as a frenzied crowd of 21,273 vented its collective spleen at Lucic, not a Bruin could be found who would admit to having seen the play, much less talk about it.
“I didn’t see the hit,’’ said captain Zdeno Chara. “But obviously the referee made a call, so we had to go with it.’’
Lucic’s center, David Krejci, said he was heading toward the bench as the Bruins were in the middle of a line change.
“It was at the end of our shift,’’ Krejci said. “I knew that the defenseman was dumping the puck, so I just went for a change. I don’t even know what happened.’’
What happened was that Lucic took a couple of strides toward Spacek, who was facing the glass after having cleared the puck into the Bruins zone.
Lucic caught Spacek with his shoulder squarely between the clavicles, then continued hard into the boards. Although there appeared to be no direct contact to Spacek’s head, the veteran defenseman was unaware of the freight train on his backside and unable to protect himself.
He was left crumpled and bloodied, although he later returned to action.
All Lucic, who was dressed and out of sight after the game, could do was roll his eyes as he trudged off toward the dressing room.
A suspension for tonight’s Game 7 at TD Garden, while possible, seemed unlikely, especially since more egregious acts in the first round by Philadelphia’s Mike Richards and Vancouver’s Raffi Torres have gone undisciplined by the NHL.
Bruins coach Claude Julien, who said he, too, was in the dark about the hit, wouldn’t hazard a guess as to whether Lucic was in jeopardy of being suspended.
“I have no idea,’’ said Julien. “I haven’t even had a chance to look at it. I don’t know how they [league] are seeing it.
“The five-minute penalty was because [Spacek] was cut, not necessarily because of the hit. I can’t comment on that stuff, and the last thing you want to do is make a bad comment on something that you haven’t had a chance to watch closely.’’
The loss of Lucic was quickly made worse when Patrice Bergeron almost immediately cleared the puck over the glass, putting the Bruins at a two-man disadvantage.
It paved the way for Montreal’s second five-on-three goal of the night, the winner as it turned out.
Krejci said it was a setback for a line still struggling to add to the mojo produced by right wing Nathan Horton’s overtime goal in Game 5.
Daniel Paille moved up from the fourth line to take Lucic’s spot at left wing, and was able to provide energy but no points.
“It’s tough,’’ said Krejci. “Me and him have been battling to build some confidence from the last game. It [stinks] to happen on the first shift of the second period. We just have to forget about it and get ready for [tonight].’’