TAMPA — Knock it off!
That was the message the NHL sent to Bruins F Brad Marchand for his persistent licking of opponents.
Just reading that sentence is gross, right? Well, imagine if you're Lightning F Ryan Callahan, who was licked on the face by Marchand during Friday's Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series. Callahan said he sees no difference between licking and spitting in someone's face.
When told of Callahan's comments, Marchand said, "That's cute.''
But the league didn't find Marchand cute. It announced Saturday that it spoke with Marchand and Bruins GM Don Sweeney. It also announced that it put Marchand "on notice that his actions last night are unacceptable and similar behavior in the future will be dealt with by way of supplemental discipline.''
The Bruins are not happy with the officiating in the series. They were particularly upset that a penalty wasn't called moments before Steven Stamkos scored a third-period tying goal in Game 4. The Bruins believed Tampa Bay F Nikita Kucherov hauled down Boston D Charlie McAvoy.
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said he is trying to adhere to the mantra of "suck it up and play'' but it's hard to do.
"We're human beings," he said. "It's game after game after game. To me, the calls … it's unbelievable."
There were questions in Boston about whether Lightning captain Steven Stamkos should have been suspended for elbowing Boston F Rick Nash in Game 4. Stamkos was given a two-minute penalty, but the league did not review the hit for a possible fine and/or suspension. Nash continued to play in the game.
This and that
The Bruins will miss a key player in today's Game 5. D Torey Krug is out with a left ankle injury. Krug crashed heavily into the boards while racing against Tampa Bay F Alex Killorn for a loose puck in Game 4. Krug, who had a superb regular season with 14 goals and 45 assists, is having tests to determine how severe the injury is. He has three goals and nine assists this postseason in 11 games. Nick Holden is expected to replace Krug in the lineup. … By assisting on F Nikita Kucherov's game-opening goal in Game 4, D Victor Hedman became Tampa Bay's all-time playoff leader in assists with 36, passing Marty St. Louis. … With its 4-3 victory in Game 4, the Lightning has won 13 consecutive postseason games when scoring at least three goals. That includes a 7-0 record in this postseason.
Contact Tom Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TomWJones.