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Boston Bruins

Mar 5, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo (25) skates off the ice after suffering an apparent injury against the Washington Capitals during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

The second game of a two-game set with the Capitals came with some predictable nastiness.

But it didn’t take long for it to escalate out of control when Capitals winger Tom Wilson tagged Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo with a cheap shot to the head towards the end of the first period.

“You could see it, he hit them clearly in the head,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said of Wilson’s hit on Carlo. “Brandon’s in an ambulance goes to the hospital, obviously, from that hit. Clearly looked like he got him right in the head. Defenseless player, predatory hit from a player that’s done that before.

“We’re upset. Brandon’s a very popular guy in the room. And we felt that was completely unnecessary, dirty.”

Cassidy wasn’t alone with that belief.

Without fans and with no music played while Carlo was attended to, you could hear various Boston skaters telling Wilson what a dirty hit it was, along with other not-safe-to-print critiques thrown his way.

I mean, [Carlo]’s pressed up against the glass and you’re coming in to make a hit like that,” Jarred Tinordi, who fought Wilson in the second period, said. “I think that’s that’s you’ve got to let up there. I mean, the only the only thing that’s going to happen is you’re going to hurt the guy. I think it’s dangerous. It’s risky.”

“You can’t have guys taking liberties with our players out there,” said Tinordi. “I think that’s the way I’ve always played it [and] the way a lot of guys on my team played. You got to recognize that. It was a little bit of a cheap shot and our guy goes down and we responded in a big way.”

“I’ve been guilty of it in the past; guy’s in a bad position and you take a cheap shot, but it is something that you don’t want to see happen,” Brad Marchand offered. “And especially with your teammate. That’s what that was: [Carlo] was in a bad spot and, you know, [Wilson] took advantage of it.”

Wilson doing Wilson things doesn’t shock anybody anymore.

But what did surprise the Bruins, and just about everybody watching, was that the entire incident came without a single penalty called against Wilson. Not an illegal check to the head, not a boarding, not a charge. Nothing.

“I don’t understand why there wasn’t a penalty called on the ice,” said Cassidy. “[The refs] huddled up but I did not get an explanation why. But it’s out of our hands after that. We’ve just got to play hockey and try to stick together as a team, play the right way. Sometimes when that stuff happens and there’s no call, the players kind of settle it on the ice in their own way. And we felt that we pushed back and did what we could do and won the hockey game and tried to let that particular player know that that was unnecessary. So that’s how we handled it.”

The Bruins, of course, handled with two scraps against Wilson, and with a five-hole pounding on the Capitals.

Wilson has since been offered in-person hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, which means that the suspension coming his way is likely over five games in length.