Back on opening night, Lars Eller scored a goal in the third period to put the Washington Capitals up with a commanding 7-0 lead over the Boston Bruins. On a night that clearly belonged to the Caps after raising the Stanley Cup champions banner before the game, Eller celebrated in front of the Bruins bench and Brad Marchand wasn’t having any of it. He ambushed Eller and threw several punches knocking him to the ground.
This prompted Caps fans to circle Thursday night’s rematch on their calendar. Tom Wilson was in the beginning of his 20-game suspension on that October night so he wasn’t able to come in and stick up for his teammate. Was Eller or even Wilson going to retaliate? We didn’t get a clear answer at morning skate from Eller.
Eller had no comment on what to expect between him and Marchand tonight.
— JJ Regan (@JJReganNBCS) January 10, 2019
During the game, Eller wan’t to drop the gloves with Marchand but the latter refused to fight. Eller called him out on the cowardice after the game.
Lars Eller really wants to go with Brad Marchand but instead all he gets is a penalty pic.twitter.com/uqg3dd5Fs2
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) January 11, 2019
“Obviously he didn’t want any part of it. Everybody saw. I don’t think there’s a lot of integrity in his game,” said the Caps center.
“(You) can’t fight a guy that doesn’t want to fight. Everybody saw what he is. I don’t know what else to say. We got out of here with two points. We got what we wanted.”
T.J. Oshie also chimed in, “I was a little let down that Marchand didn’t drop his gloves. Since the other way, Lars got jumped, but I don’t know the guy. I don’t know. You can kind of take away and speculate however you’d like.”
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 11, 2019
So why didn’t Marchand want to fight Eller. I mean they’re both Stanley Cup champions. Him wanting to fight Eller on opening night in a frustrating game for his team makes sense. But what’s the excuse for not wanting to go round two? Apparently it’s because Eller doesn’t get enough playing time?
“I haven’t looked at the stats sheet but I really don’t feel I need to try and prove anything,” Marchand said to the media.
“Eller plays maybe 10-12 minutes a night. I’m playing 20 so… and a 1-0 game and to go on the power play… it doesn’t make a lot of sense so that’s the way it is.”
Since Marchand doesn’t look at the stats sheet let’s save him the trouble and fact check that statement. Eller has averaged 16:55 on the ice. Although he’s a third-line center typically unless someone is hurt, Eller is a key component to the Capitals. When the team was down 2-0 in the first round in Columbus, it was Eller’s goal in double-overtime that not only saved the season but changed the course of Capitals history for the good. Eller also scored the game-winning goal to help the Caps to their Stanley Cup.
In the end, Marchand just didn’t want to fight Eller. Take that as you will. The Caps went on to defeat the Bruins 4-2.