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Bruins Notebook

Brad Marchand suspended three games for slew-footing Vancouver’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Brad Marchand upends Vancouver's Oliver Ekman-Larsson during Sunday's game at TD Garden.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Brad Marchand’s relentless third-period hits ignited the Bruins in their 3-2 win Sunday over Vancouver Sunday, but his hit on Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson caught the attention of the NHL Department of Player Safety.

The department held a hearing Monday to review Marchand’s hit for slew-footing. Marchand used his right leg to upend Ekman-Larsson as they headed toward the boards.

Marchand was suspended three games for the hit.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said he was surprised that the league decided to review the play.

Brad Marchand will miss some time -- three games, to be exact.Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

“There was nothing called in the game,” he said. “They do revisit certain incidents. I think the precedent for the most part this year has been a fine if they think that’s deserving of it.


“I thought it was two guys were battling for a puck, got tangled up. You see a lot of those in the game. They’re typically along the boards, more often than in the open ice, but I’ve seen a lot of it this year.”

Meanwhile, Bruins winger Anton Blidh will not be available for tomorrow’s game against the Red Wings. Blidh left Sunday’s game with an upper-body injury after being slammed into the boards by Ekman-Larsson.

“Could be a little longer,” Cassidy said. “But we don’t think it’s anything long-term.”

Cassidy compared it to the hit that Charlie McAvoy took against the Sabres. Zemgus Girgensons cracked McAvoy against the wall and left him bloodied. In both cases, Cassidy said, he didn’t see malicious intent.

“It’s hard to assess intent, right?” Cassidy said. “When I watched it live, I didn’t think that was his intent. [Girgensons] was intent on finishing his check and Charlie turned and he was committed to it. So some of those I find hard — maybe because the year I played in, you saw more of those ... now they’re trying to get those out of the game.”


Cassidy said he would assume the league will not look at the hit on Blidh.

The Bruins cashed in twice on the power play against Vancouver and have scored on four of their last nine power plays over the past three games.

Cassidy shook up the top power-play unit, going with Nick Foligno in place of Taylor Hall to take advantage of Foligno’s net-front presence.

Foligno, who had an assist on Marchand’s third-period power-play goal against the Canucks, deferred the credit for the power play’s success to his linemates.

Nick Foligno leaps to try and screen Calgary goalie Dan Vladar during a recent Bruins-Flames contest.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

“I think they’re making me feel at home,” Foligno said. “Those are four pretty darn good players to play with, and I think I just know what my role needs to be there obviously in the net-front. Just trying to make plays not die with me.

“Whether it’s keeping the puck alive on the retrieval or creating havoc in front so that the goalie has a harder time seeing the puck. It’s going to only help the other guys do what they do.”

Cassidy has always encouraged movement on the power play. Foligno’s activity in front of the net creates more possibilities.

“Nick is a true net presence in terms of he likes to live at the top of the blue paint, whereas Taylor was moving around more — and that’s fine, each has different attributes,” Cassidy said. “With Nick being at the top there and how we saw them killing, we thought it was good for him to plant himself there and we can make some plays around that. He did a real good job in there occupying space.”


Tuukka Rask is staying close to the team as he recovers from offseason hip surgery, working out at Warrior Ice Arena. Cassidy said the 34-year-old goalie is “completely on schedule.”

Originally, the timeline set by the Bruins medical staff for Rask’s return was no sooner than the new year and realistically February. That timing, Cassidy noted, coincides with the break for the Winter Olympics, which means Rask’s return probably wouldn’t happen before March.

“There was a little bit of leeway there when I was told originally when the surgery happened,” Cassidy said. “So I think he’s right there, if not a little bit ahead. I know he’s not behind.

Julian Benbow can be reached at julian.benbow@globe.com.