VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Canucks forward Brandon Prust was fined $5,000 for spearing forward Brad Marchand late in the Bruins' 4-0 win Saturday night in Vancouver.
Prust said Sunday it was the "best money I've ever spent."
"I kind of thought that this is what would happen, so . . . I mean, it wasn't that hard, and he sold it pretty good," Prust said. "I saw him laughing on the bench after, so I don't think he's too hurt."
Marchand was speared in the groin by Prust with 1 minutes, 53 seconds remaining in the third period.
Prust received a 10-minute misconduct, and Marchand remained down on the ice for a lengthy period.
"I didn't really see who did it when it happened, but just kind of gave me a jab, got me in the fun spot," Marchand said.
Marchand said he didn't think there was anything that precipitated the incident. Prust reiterated that Sunday after learning of his fine.
"Just frustration," he said. "It happens out there. You know, I wasn't really trying to injure him . . . The puck was coming back up the boards, so when I swing by I got my stick active."
General managers have made it clear they would like to keep spearing an offense worthy of a fine rather than a suspension, according to a league source. While the Department of Player Safety can suspend a player for spearing, the GMs seem to believe a fine is more appropriate.
Consistency the key
The flashes can be tantalizing. This is what the Bruins can do — even in their current work-in-progress incarnation — if they play to the system, play disciplined, and stay away from the sloppy passes.
They have figured out how to do it on occasion, including on Saturday night — granted, against a team tied for the fewest wins in the NHL — but they still haven't figured out how to do it every night. That could be seen earlier in the Western Canada trip, in a shootout loss to the Oilers and in an overtime loss to the Flames.
"That's what mature teams do that know how to win," Torey Krug said. "They bring it every single night. And when they don't have their 'A' game, they bring their 'B' game. We're learning. By no means are we perfect, and we're still just working to turn into a group that knows how to win on a nightly basis."
The result was a shutout win for the Bruins, their offense coming from their defense, their goaltender not tested very often.
It was something Tuukka Rask was happy to see. This is exactly what he wants from his team every night, with the defensemen making the right decisions, with the forwards helping support them, with the chances to break out limited.
"It requires hard work, and that's what it's all about," Rask said after the game. "We're trying to preach that: We have to skate every game, because if we don't skate, we can't play our system. Today we were skating well, and we had our heads in it, too, and when we have those two things together, then we can play our hockey."
Now that just needs to become habit.
"You've seen when we do that the previous years, it has brought us a lot of success," Rask said. "It's still somewhat early in the season, a lot of new guys. The biggest thing I think is to not fall back to the take a step back, a step forward, and then two steps back [issue] like we have done a couple times."
The performance was all the more notable for a couple of reasons. The Bruins lost Adam McQuaid early in the game after the defenseman took a shot off the wrist, leaving them with just five defensemen just 6:55 into the game. That forced Zdeno Chara to play 25:47 in the second game of a back-to-back, Zach Trotman to play 25:33, and Kevan Miller to play 25:01.
Miller, too, was in his first game back from a concussion suffered on Nov. 17 against the Sharks. He had missed seven games and hadn't been playing that well before that point. Joe Morrow, who finished with 20:48 on ice, was also coming back, in his case from 12 games in the press box as a healthy scratch.
Both played better than could have been expected.
"I think [Morrow] missed 12 games, and it didn't look like that tonight," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the win. "He really played well, and even Kevan Miller I thought was real solid there. He played better than he did before he got injured, so it was nice to see those guys come in and help us out tonight when we really needed them."
That's important, especially given McQuaid's injury history and the fact that there was no update after the game as to what had happened to his wrist. It is unknown if he will be out for a significant amount of time.
"I thought we played from the middle of the ice on out, and that was important, part of our game plan," Krug said. "It was tough for them to find room with the puck and obviously to get shots through to the net. When they did, Tuuks stood tall for us. That's a good model for our game."
The Bruins understand what they need to do defensively. They were able to do it on Saturday. Now they just need to do it again, against better opponents and more talented teams.
Julien said that the reason that Dennis Seidenberg and Colin Miller were scratched on Saturday was due to giving them "maintenance days."
Asked if that might affect their availability for Monday's game against the Predators, Julien said: "We've got to see how they're going to be. With [Adam] McQuaid out, hopefully we're good with one or two at least, so we'll see what goes on there."