Panthers’ Sam Bennett Addresses Contentious Hit on Brad Marchand

Florida Panthers center Sam Bennett celebrates with center Evan Rodrigues
Florida Panthers center Sam Bennett celebrates with center Evan Rodrigues / Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Panthers extended their 3–1 series lead over the Boston Bruins after a thrilling comeback win in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

After the game, Sam Bennett, who scored the equalizing goal during the third period on Sunday, discussed the controversial incident that occurred in Game 3 that had TNT's Paul Bissonnette calling him "public enemy No. 1 in Boston."

During Game 3, Bennett rocked Bruins captain Brad Marchand with a crippling hit that knocked him out of the game. An alternative angle of the play was released on Sunday which appeared to show Bennett landing a fist to Marchand's face on the play.

With tension between the two teams continuing to ramp up, Bennett discussed the hit that took the bad blood to new heights.

"I got a little taste of it last year in Toronto. I'm getting kind of used to it," said Bennett. "On that play, obviously I'm not trying to punch him in the head, like everyone's saying. I'm just bracing myself for him coming to hit me. There's no way I would've had time to think about punching him in the head."

"People can see it however they want. It's playoff hockey, there's going to be hard plays. Obviously, it's unfortunate he got hit, but that's just a hockey play in my mind."

Marchand missed Game 4 while recovering what the team is describing as an upper-body injury. He'll hope to return for Game 5 with the Bruins facing elimination.

Bennett didn't shy away from the fans that showered him with boos at TD Garden on Sunday, encouraging them to "bring it on."

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Karl Rasmussen


Karl Rasmussen is a writer on Sports Illustrated’s Breaking & Trending News Team. A University of Oregon alum, his work has appeared on 12up and ClutchPoints. He’s a loyal Tottenham, Jets, Yankees and Ducks fan.