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Bruins Notebook

Bruins lose Brad Marchand on what coach Bruce Cassidy calls ‘cheap’ hit

Brad Marchand is driven into the boards and injured by Washington's Garnet Hathaway during the second period of Thursday's game at TD Garden.Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

Bruce Cassidy called it “cheap.” To David Pastrnak, it was “dirty.”

A dangerous hit by the Capitals’ Garnet Hathaway left Bruin Brad Marchand wincing and grabbing his right shoulder before ending his night early.

The Bruins didn’t know the severity of Marchand’s injury immediately after a 4-3 win on Thursday. After Hathaway drove him into the boards from behind, Marchand’s right shoulder taking the worst of it, Marchand was ruled out with an upper-body injury.

“Didn’t like that at all,” Cassidy said afterward. “Hit a guy in the numbers in a vulnerable spot. We’ve seen that from that player in the past.”


Hathaway, of Kennebunkport, Maine, has gotten into it with several Bruins in his career.

“He’s that kind of player,” Pastrnak said. “We saw him a couple games ago. I didn’t like it, obviously. Our best player and he took a run at him. I think it was dirty.”

The Bruins also lost Anton Blidh, who didn’t see the Tom Wilson train coming. Cassidy thought Hathaway could be hearing from the league, but he believes Wilson won’t add to his rap sheet.

Washington's Tom Wilson hits Anton Blidh during the first period of Thursday's game.Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

“Wilson hits hard. We’ve seen that. Some clean, others not clean. I didn’t mind that hit,” Cassidy said, noting Wilson targeted the chest and kept his elbows down when he thumped Blidh in the first period. Blidh did not return, and after Marchand left, the Bruins were down two left wings.

Foligno returns, Steen sits

There’s nothing wrong with Oskar Steen’s game, according to Cassidy, but the return of Nick Foligno had the 23-year-old watching Thursday night’s game from the ninth floor of TD Garden.

“We had a few different candidates we discussed,” said Cassidy, whose third and fourth lines struggled against the Hurricanes on Tuesday. “Oskar, like everybody, wasn’t at his best the other night. But he’s played well for us. It was a tough decision.”


Patrice Bergeron and Nick Foligno celebrate at the end of Thursday's game.Mary Schwalm/Associated Press

Yet to be determined is how Steen will handle being a healthy scratch after his recent run of solid play. He had a goal and two assists in four games after being recalled for a Jan. 2 game in Detroit. He has had zeroes in his last five.

“I don’t expect it to be long term,” said Cassidy. “We liked his play, like his energy. Nice to have some youth in there, but again we sorted through a couple of candidates and fell on him … like a lot of young guys you find out if they’re where they’re at mentally in that regard.”

A spot in Saturday’s matinee (3 p.m.) against Nashville wasn’t promised.

Steen had a good run with Foligno and Charlie Coyle earlier this month, when Foligno was healthy (and playing his natural left wing spot, with Jake DeBrusk on the COVID list). However, Foligno, who missed the previous five games with an undisclosed lower-body injury, was returning as the No. 3 right wing. It was sensible for the Bruins to keep DeBrusk, who scored the Bruins’ third goal and has a standing trade request, as the No. 3 left wing rather than scratching him.

Another option for Steen would be No. 4 right wing, but the more established Curtis Lazar is there. If Lazar moved to center because of an injury or ineffectiveness, Steen could slide in.

Cassidy said he told Steen to “watch [Thursday’s] game from up there and take a breather and our intention is to get you back in there. It’s not like we’re disappointed in your play. I know it’s dropped a little bit of late, but not to the point where we don’t think you can help us win.”


Correct call

Urho Vaakanainen accepted it, after seeing the replay: His shot from the point Jan. 12 against the Canadiens actually did hit Lazar in front of the net. Vaakanainen’s would-be first NHL goal was properly overturned.

“A little disappointing,” he said. “You have photos and everything. I got the puck. Just have to do it again.”

Vaakanainen (0-4–4 in seven games on emergency recall) was in the lineup on Thursday with Mike Reilly stuck in COVID protocol. The 23-year-old Finn has been more focused on moving his feet, and the puck, and defending well rather than scoring. His confidence has been rising, so maybe puck luck will follow.

“I’ve been playing pretty good hockey this whole year,” he said.

“He’ll have more opportunities,” Cassidy said. “Urho’s not a big-time goal-scorer, so I don’t think he’s going to be overly rattled by it, but it is your first NHL goal. That’s something every kid dreams about.”

There wasn’t much discussion in the Bruins’ room after Vaakanainen’s first goal was taken away.

“No, I don’t think there’s much to say,” Cassidy said. “Everybody gave it to Lazer. We were teasing him that he ran right over to the ref to claim the goal, he was upset about that.”


Ullmark on a roll

Linus Ullmark started in goal and earned his seventh win in a row ... Trent Frederic and John Moore remained out of the lineup with upper-body injuries ... The Capitals were without Melrose-raised forward Conor Sheary and defensemen John Carlson (COVID protocol) and Dmitry Orlov (two-game suspension for kneeing).

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