Boston Bruins

Mar 5, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; The Boston Bruins celebrate after a goal by left wing Brad Marchand (63) against Washington Capitals goalie Vitek Vanecek (41) during the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a couple of ways you can respond to a cheap shot like the one the Capitals’ Tom Wilson put on Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo at the end of the first period. You can chase after Wilson in search of a revenge fight or an equalizer elsewhere, or you can focus on doing your damage on the scoreboard and winning the game.

The Bruins opted for both Friday, as they smoked the Capitals for five goals, three of which came with Wilson watching from the penalty box after a fight with Jarred Tinordi, in a 5-1 victory at TD Garden.

“We were upset,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after the game. “Brandon’s a very popular guy in the room. We felt [the hit] was completely unnecessary, dirty. The leadership group took over and said we’re gonna finish every check and win the game.”

Up 1-0 after a beautiful backhanded strike from Brad Marchand, the Bruins used that jump from Tinordi’s scrap with Wilson to push their lead out to four, beginning with a Trent Frederic tip for his third goal of the season.

The Frederic goal came just 31 seconds after the Tinordi-Wilson fight, and Patrice Bergeron absolutely hammered a puck through Vitek Vanecek just 2:18 after Frederic’s tally to give the Bruins a 3-0 edge.

And in case that wasn’t enough, a terrific feed from Matt Grzelcyk to Marchand made it 4-0 at the 14:58 mark of the period, and ended Vanecek’s night with four goals on 18 shots faced.

The Bruins carried that four-goal lead into the third period, and extended it to five by way of a Nick Ritchie snipe through Ilya Samsonov at the 1:05 mark of the period, good for Ritchie’s eighth tally of the season.

That’s when we were treated to our second Wilson fight of the evening, this time with Frederic, in a sequence that strangely enough ended with Frederic receiving an extra two and a 10-minute misconduct for instigating.

Washington finally put themselves on the board in garbage time, as Jakub Vrana put one by Jaroslav Halak at the 13:36 mark of the period to bring the Caps within four goals.

It was Halak’s lone blemish in what finished as a 31-save victory in the Boston crease.

Halak had a ton of help from the Boston penalty kill, too, which went 3-for-3.

Boston’s effort came with points for 10 different skaters, led by three points from Marchand, and with Grzelcyk and Charlie McAvoy each posting a plus-3 rating. The Grzelcyk-McAvoy pairing, which was utilized on a regular basis for the first time all season, also dominated as a duo, posting 71.4 Corsi-For percentage, 6-1 shots advantage, and 3-0 scoring advantage in 10:39 of even-strength play together.

The only bad news for the Bruins in this contest came with the aforementioned hit on Carlo, as the 6-foot-5 defender, who needed help getting off the ice, did not return to play following the hit from Wilson.

Cassidy confirmed after the game that Carlo was transported to a hospital via ambulance after the hit, but did not have a concrete update as to whether or not Carlo sustained a concussion on the hit, but noted that it was a hit to the head. Boston’s second-pairing rock all season, Carlo does have a history of concussions, which only adds to the concern when it comes to the Bruins potentially losing him for any sort of spell.

The Bruins will remain at home for a Sunday evening with the Devils.