Sam Bennett breaks silence on controversial hit on Brad Marchand that sidelined him for Game 4

The Florida Panthers are just one win away from eliminating the Boston Bruins from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

They eliminated the Bruins last year after coming back from a 3-1 series deficit in the first round, but are looking phenomenal so far, as they’re up 3-1 in the series.

The Bruins had the opportunity to tie the series 2-2 on Sunday, but it didn’t help them that Brad Marchand, their team captain, wasn’t playing.

Marchand suffered an injury in Game 3 after a controversial hit from Sam Bennett, and he had to sit out Game 4 due to an ’upper-body injury.’ 

During the first period on Friday, Bennett checked Brad Marchand and sent the veteran into the boards back-first.

Many also believed that Bennett caught Marchand in the head with his glove, but for days, there was no good angle. But on Sunday, TNT released an alternate angle of the incident, and it became obvious that Bennett indeed sucker punched Marchand in the side of the head.

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The new camera angle made fans furious, and after Game 4, Bennett spoke with the NHL on TNT crew. Bennett wasn’t suspended for punching Marchand, and he played a big role in Game 4, as he scored the game-tying goal. But he also gave his perspective on the hit that had Marchand sidelined for the game.

“Obviously I’m not trying to punch him in the head like everyone’s saying. Other people can have different opinions. I braced myself for him coming to hit me. There’s no way I would have time to think about punching him in the head,” Bennett said.

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Bennett also said he is fine with being Boston’s No. 1 public enemy.

“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,” Bennett said.

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In the TNT interview, Paul Bissonnette asked Bennett whether he attempted a reverse hit when his hand came up to Marchand’s head.

“He’s coming at me. Normally, I’m going to go with two hands to protect myself. Coming back from an injury, I’m going to protect myself however I can. That’s really all there is to it, and like I said, it’s unfortunate he got injured on it,” the Panthers forward said.

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