There have been some amazing rivalries in Boston sports; Bruins versus Canadiens, Red Sox versus Yankees, Celtics versus Lakers, and Patriots versus Jets. Is Milan Lucic’s and the Bruins’ newly budding rivalry against the Columbus Blue Jackets close to aforementioned group? No, not in the least bit, but it has still been a lot of fun for hockey fans to watch.
This hatred for the Blue Jackets started in a 4-3 shootout win for the Bruins on November 21, 2014. With just four seconds left in the overtime frame, Columbus defenseman and known pugilist, Dalton Prout, got into an altercation with Lucic and dropped him to the ice with just one punch. Both parties ended up with minor penalties for roughing, however Lucic was also slapped with a game misconduct.
After that November game when Lucic was asked about Prout’s “cheap shot” he had this to say, “It was the end of the game and I let him know that I wasn’t going to fight him. I wasn’t prepared and I let my guard down and that’s what happens when you let your guard down. There’ve been many times where I could’ve done the exact same thing, and I could’ve held off because he wouldn’t drop his gloves. I find it to be gutless.”
The comments made by Lucic, who has been accused of some cheap shots of his own throughout his career, made people a little more anxious for the game between Boston and Columbus on December 28, 2014. As if acting as an appetizer, Lucic and Prout were both given roughing minors during a multi player scrum in the first period of the December game. In the second period, Lucic and Prout would meet for a merciless and lengthy exchange of fisticuffs, which left Prout bloody due to a reopening of a cut below his left eye. Prout felt he wasn’t prepared for this altercation. He felt that Lucic “jumped” him.
“It’s obviously not the way you should start a fight,” Prout said on the night of December 28th. “You can never be too happy about getting jumped. Sometimes you get in those situations and you learn how to protect yourself. Sometimes you can jockey for position forever, or sometimes you take one to give one. I’ll take on one to give one.”
On Saturday, January 17, the Blue Jackets found themselves in the TD Garden to take on the Bruins for the third and final installment of the 2014-15 season. Much like an overhyped heavyweight boxing match, this game was uneventful. Bruins fans did witness a one-two knockout punch, unfortunately, it was not in the form of a third round of Lucic vs Prout. The blow came from Columbus left winger Matt Calvert, when he was able to bang a loose puck past Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask with just 3:03 remaining in the game to give the Blue Jackets the lead. Calvert would follow up with the KO punch 2:25 later with an empty net goal as Columbus would go on to win 3-1. The loss to Columbus ended the Bruins’ five game win streak.
After the game, Lucic had this to say about what the team needed to do in order to have won the game, “Yeah, we definitely didn’t play tonight like we have in the last bunch of games. It’s unfortunate we got away from the things that were making us successful and they got us on a five-game win streak. It just goes to show you can’t let your guard down or you can’t be sleepy or anything like that heading into the game no matter who you’re playing. You know it’s one of those lessons and hopefully the last time we have to learn it.”