ST. PAUL — There were no goalie fights in the Bruins’ 5-2 win over the Wild on Saturday, as much as hockey fans have been buzzing about the possibilities of late.
In warm-up, Marc-Andre Fleury did not skate onto Boston’s side of the ice. He calmly performed his duty as Filip Gustavsson’s backup. Fleury had calmed down since Wednesday, when cantankerous Blues goalie Jordan Binnington was looking for a fight in St. Louis, and Fleury wanted to give it to him.
“It’ll be good,” Fleury said in a mic’d-up video posted by the Wild, as he pleaded his case to a linesman blocking his path. “It’ll be fun, no?”
On Saturday, Jeremy Swayman didn’t seem to notice Fleury in warm-up, but he did see a fan in a No. 1 sweater, pushing an “Alaska loves Swayman” sign against the glass. Swayman gave him a puck and posed for a selfie.
Except for Minnesota enforcer Ryan Reaves, who tried to get a few Bruins to go, no one was in a fighting mood. But if things ever got tense, could Jim Montgomery imagine one of his goalies going at it?
“I haven’t even given it a thought, so I can’t answer that intelligently,” the Bruins coach said. “I would imagine Swayman might, but my guess is Linus [Ullmark], no. And Linus is going tonight. So, no goalie fights.”
Ullmark confirmed that his blocker and glove are strapped down tight.
“It would take a lot,” he said. “It comes down to the person on the other side and the kind of stupid stuff they do. I would never try to start anything. It’s not my game.”
Willing to scrap
There were no coach fights, either, even though the two involved Saturday had a little history.
Montgomery and Minnesota’s Dean Evason were with the Flyers and Flames, respectively, when Montgomery earned his first fighting major.
Coincidentally, he fought a Fleury.
As a Flyers call-up on Nov. 9, 1995, Montgomery scrapped with Theo Fleury, then a superstar in the game. Fleury, who had a 2011 Brad Marchand-like impact on Calgary’s 1989 Stanley Cup team, was on his way to a 46-goal, 96-point season.
Montgomery thought Fleury, his team down by three goals late in the game, was looking for a power play or to end his night early.
After a whistle, “I remember him asking me to fight,” Montgomery said. “At the end of the same whistle, he wanted to fight again.”
Montgomery, concerned he might be demoted for engaging, did oblige. It was the first of two career fights for both the 5-foot-6-inch Fleury and 5-9 Montgomery. The latter recalled it as a do-si-do, the two swinging each other ‘round and ‘round until they hit the ice.
“Not one punch was thrown,” Montgomery said. “I take that as a win.”
Evason, who liked to go in his day, once slugged it out with Don Sweeney during a Whalers-Bruins game and took on heavyweights such as Shane Churla. He stayed out of it.
“Thank God it was Theo,” Montgomery said, “and not him.”
Tyler Bertuzzi avoided disaster when he tumbled backward near the boards in a puck battle. Mason Shaw was trying to keep his skates away from Bertuzzi’s face as Reaves barrelled in for a hit on Charlie McAvoy.
That was one of the only times the Bertuzzi-Charlie Coyle-Trent Frederic line got the worst of it physically. Dominant on the puck, the line didn’t allow a shot (7-0), and allowed just three shot attempts (12-3).
“For me and Freddy, being big guys, when we’re controlling the puck, that’s when we play our best,” Coyle said. “Still getting to know how Bert plays, but he’s so smart. Some of his passes today, they look very simple, but for him to see them, eyes in the back of his head and he just puts it in the right area.”
Helping the cause
Marchand’s three assists tied a season high ... Ullmark saw another open cage late in the game, but didn’t take a shot. He now feels a buzz in the building when the other net is empty. “Nothing really on the road, but especially at home, people are screaming as soon as the puck gets dumped and I get it. People have to realize that I’ve tried twice this year. Before that, I tried twice in 10 years,” Ullmark said. “There’s got to be the perfect opportunity to do it” … Minnesota had been winning without top-pair defenseman Jonas Brodin, who missed his 12th game in a row, and superstar scorer Kirill Kaprizov (fourth). Against Boston, they didn’t have regulars Marcus Foligno, Jake Middleton, and Brandon Duhaime … Gustavsson (33 saves) allowed four goals and has given up nine in his last two starts. Before that, he gave up 11 over his previous nine … Evason on the Bruins: “Everything. Everything, right? They’ve got all facets of the game. What do they have, 11 losses on the year? They keep the puck out of the net, they put the puck in the net.” He also called Patrice Bergeron “the best player in the league for a long time.”
Matt Porter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyports.