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Bruins 5, Capitals 1

Playing for each other, Bruins respond to hit on Brandon Carlo by knocking out Capitals

Bruins defenseman Jarred Tinordi took on Capitals right wing Tom Wilson in a fight that changed the game for the Bruins.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

The Bruins channeled their anger at Tom Wilson in the ideal manner: by pounding him twice, and the back of the Capitals’ net repeatedly.

After Wilson’s predatory hit injured Brandon Carlo, teammates Jarred Tinordi and Trent Frederic traded haymakers with a willing Wilson, and Boston routed Washington, 5-1, at TD Garden Friday night.

Boston (13-5-3) chased Capitals starter Vitek Vanecek in the second, and responded to Wednesday’s loss. They responded to Wilson’s unpenalized takeout of Carlo, whose head rattled off the glass when Wilson ran him with 1:28 left in the first period, with some Harlem Globetrotters passing. Their opponents from D.C. weren’t quite as hapless as the Washington Generals, but it was close.


Patrice Bergeron (goal) and Brad Marchand (two goals) recorded 3 points each, Frederic scored on a skillful deflection, and Nick Ritchie added another. Instead of losing their cool, the Bruins were sharp with the puck.

Given all the loathing between these teams this week, their April 8 and 11 series rematch in Washington will be appointment viewing.

“It didn’t need to be said,” said Marchand, who opened the scoring 14:21 in, taking a brilliant one-hand feed from Bergeron and deking Vanecek for a backhand roof job. “Guys took control and answered the bell.”

At 6:12 of the second, Tinordi made Wilson answer for the hit on Carlo, 24, who was taken to the hospital by ambulance. The Bruins, who ruled him out of the game with an upper-body injury, did not immediately issue a further update.

“He hit him clearly in the head,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “A defenseless player. A predatory hit from a player that’s done that before.

“We were upset. Brandon’s a very popular guy in the room.

Tinordi called the hit “a cheap shot,” and knew how to respond.

“That’s what I noticed about this team as soon as I got here,” he said. “The boys are playing for each other, night in and night out.”


Tinordi was cut on the forehead in their scrap, Wilson on the nose. It was apparent that Frederic, the young-and-eager fourth-liner earning a reputation as an irritant, might do something himself. He did.

He lunged away from the crease to deflect a Charlie McAvoy pass past Vanecek, for a 2-0 lead. He later instigated a fight with Wilson, taking a beating but smiling throughout. The two chatted from the penalty boxes, apparently amicably.

The temperature did not cool. Puck battles were hateful. It was so nasty that Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara threw a jab at Marchand during a scrum with 9:40 left. Bergeron bear-hugged him and pulled him away. Jack Studnicka, the spindly rookie, threw an elbow at Chara during a puck battle.

Bergeron was seen talking to Wilson before puck drop to start the second period.

“Respectfully, I’ll keep that on the ice, between us,” Bergeron said, when asked what he said. “Things happen in games.”

Marchand, out of earshot, refused to speculate on what Bergeron said.

At 9:01 of the second, Bergeron finished a tic-tac-toe play with Marchand and David Pastrnak, the latter tapping it to the slot from the goal line for the captain, who was barreling downhill. Bergeron skated by the penalty box and appeared to have words for Wilson.

Six minutes later, Marchand finished a killer feed from Matt Grzelcyk, who zipped it from the left point to the far post to his waiting winger. That was all for Vanecek, who saved 14 of 18 shots.


At 1:05 of the third, Nick Ritchie smacked home a cross-ice pass from David Krejci, the Caps looking disinterested in defending.

The Bruins, on the other hand, were finely tuned. On Wilson’s first shift after his dirty hit, Bergeron, master of detail, set a pick that kept Wilson from creaming McAvoy on the forecheck. McAvoy and Grzlecyk may have submitted the best night of any Bruins defense pair this season. In the 10:39 they were on the ice, the Bruins outshot the Capitals, 6-1, and outscored them, 3-0.

At 4:07 of the first, the Bruins were worried about another missing defenseman. McAvoy left for the dressing room after taking the worst of a collision along the boards with Garnet Hathaway. McAvoy, who initiated the hit after Hathaway dumped in the puck, led with his left hip and left side, and wound up airborne. Rare to see McAvoy, listed about 20 pounds heavier than Hathaway (6 feet 2 inches, 188 pounds), flattened like that. He returned about four minutes later, and looked to be his usual self.

The Frederic-Charlie Coyle-Craig Smith line had some chances early, including one Frederic pass from the left wing Coyle nearly tipped home off the rush.

Bruins netminder Jaroslav Halak stopped Lars Eller on two Grade-A chances in the first: once, when Eller took a geometric triumph of a bank pass through the Bruins’ defense and broke in alone, and another when he redirected a feed from the wing.


Washington winger Jakub Vrana scored at 13:36 of the third, making it 5-1, breaking Halak’s shutout bid. He finished with 31 saves.

In the locker room between periods, Cassidy typically outlines the game plan. He didn’t need to make a peep during the first intermission.

“This one,” he said, “I think the leadership group took over and said we’re going to finish every check, push back, go out and win.”

Matt Porter can be reached at matthew.porter@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyports.