BOSTON (CBS) — When P.K. Subban and the Canadiens come to Boston, there’s always something.
On Saturday night in Game 5 of the second-round playoff series between the Bruins and Habs, that something was a water bottle.
Late in what was eventually a 4-2 Bruins victory, Subban skated with the puck in front of the Boston bench. TV cameras showed Shawn Thornton squirt a water bottle from the bench as Subban skated by.
Subban said after the game that the spray of water hit his visor and that his vision was impaired.
“Somebody had squirted water twice at the end of the game there in my visor,” Subban said. “I couldn’t even see the last minute and a half out there. So I was pretty upset about that.”
Subban said that such gamesmanship is not unusual and shouldn’t be made into a big story, but he did choose to speak at length about the spray.
“I don’t know if it’s part of the game but I’m sure if that was me that did it, it would be a different story. It would probably be on the news for the next three days. But I don’t expect that to be a story,” Subban said. “Listen, whatever it takes to win, right?”
Subban said he did not know who squirted him with water.
“You know what — maybe it was Pierre,” Subban said, jokingly referring to NBC analyst Pierre McGuire, who stands between the teams’ benches. “I don’t know who it was, but listen, it’s not going to be bulletin-board material in our room. You guys can talk about it. … It doesn’t need to be a topic of conversation here. We’re facing elimination.
“I don’t think you guys need to make a big deal out of it,” Subban told the media. “It’s one of those irritating things when you’re down 4-2. … It’s just one of those things, it frustrates you even more towards the end of the game.”
Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien said he was aware of the spray but elected not to comment. Bruins head coach Claude Julien said he did not see the squirting of the water bottle, but he said he wouldn’t support that behavior.
“No, I didn’t see that,” Julien said. “I’ve heard the same thing about that. I certainly don’t support those kind of things, but I didn’t see it so I can’t comment more than that.”
Nothing in particular precipitated the spray, though Subban had been effective in agitating the Bruins throughout the entire game. He fell to the ice to avoid getting hit by Milan Lucic on a forecheck late in the first period, and he engaged Lucic in some pushing and shoving along the wall in the second period — a showdown that led to Lucic flexing his muscle from the bench at Subban and Subban spending much of the ensuing timeout jawing back-and-forth with the Boston bench. Subban admitted after the game that he was just trying to goad Lucic into taking a penalty.
Subban was later hauled down by Matt Bartkowski late in the third, and the Canadiens defenseman helped the call along by leaping into the air and twisting to the ice. Subban scored on the power play that followed and launched an over-the-top celebration that likely caught the Bruins’ attention, considering the Bruins still led by two goals in the final minutes of a playoff game.
Or, in much shorter terms, it was your standard showdown between the Bruins and Canadiens.
It’s also worth noting that Subban ducked a Thornton hit in Game 2 of this series, causing Thornton to collide awkwardly with the Canadiens defenseman in nearly the same spot on the ice as the spraying incident. Subban said he lost his footing on that play, and Thornton expressed displeasure with what he deemed to be a dangerous move. Thornton noted that Subban apologized for that move, but only said “so there’s that.” Now, there’s this.
The two teams meet again Monday night in Game 6, with the Bruins now owning a 3-2 series lead. And when they do, a few extra eyes will be on those water bottles.