Boston Bruins

Feb 1, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) fights Boston Bruins center Trent Frederic (11) in the third period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

By Ty Anderson,

It hasn’t taken long for Boston to realize that Bruins forward Trent Frederic isn’t afraid of a challenge.

After engaging in a fight in his NHL debut back in 2019, Frederic opened the 2021 season by getting in P.K. Subban’s kitchen and challenging the veteran to a scrap. But on Monday, Frederic upped his own level of insanity by dropping the gloves with the Capitals’ Tom Wilson in the third period of Boston’s 5-3 comeback win.

With the Bruins down by one and with momentum on their side, and after trying like hell to get Wilson to fight him in the first game of this two-game set, Frederic happily gave up two inches and nearly 20 pounds to get Wilson to go.

And Wilson, considered one of the game’s heavyweights, was able to oblige in what was a noteworthy slugfest.

Delivering about four solid punches to Wilson, Frederic went down after Wilson dipped slightly and pulled back up, and two remained trying to go at it even when the officials intervened.

“Sometimes you need a spark,” Frederic said. “We were down a goal.

“I would have liked to do it earlier, but it worked out great.”

Its impact was certainly felt, too, with the Bruins scoring both the game-tying and game-winning goal with Frederic in the box, and with Frederic jumping in the penalty box all the while.

In addition to the goals that followed (and taking one of Washington’s top threats off the ice for five minutes), Frederic’s fight led to what was a dominating finish from the Bruins in terms of their shots, with Boston outshooting the Capitals 9-4 over the final 11:11 of regulation.

“I think the scrap with Wilson got everyone’s attention on the bench,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy offered. “Wilson’s arguably the toughest guy in the National Hockey League. And Freddy stood in there and gave us a bit of a boost. I don’t know what it does to their team, but it gives us a boost.”

It also spoke to the Bruins’ efforts to ‘even’ their rivalry with the Capitals, which has favored the Caps for years because of their skill, but also because of their ever-improving physical element over the last few seasons. It’s an area of the game that Frederic, who led the AHL in fights last year and has moved to the wing in the effort to be more of a power forward threat on the wings, has excelled in over his last calendar year plus in Providence and now Boston.

“That’s part of his game that’s grown in the American Hockey League,” Cassidy said of Frederic’s physicality. “He knows it’s in him. He’s recognizing what he has to do to spark us. We’re gonna give him some rope with his offensive game, but he needs to bring the assertiveness, the abrasiveness. And he’s drawn penalties, he’s annoyed people. That’s just some of the game, some of the intangibles that certain players bring to the game.”

“They were pretty physical both nights, really,” Frederic said. “We tried to give it back tonight.”

Matt Dolloff and I talk a lot of hockey every week on the SideLines podcast. Listen below for the newest episode.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.