Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban does not hold the Bruins responsible for racist slurs directed at him after Montreal won Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series in Boston.
Subban, an African-American, scored the deciding goal in the Canadiens’ 4-3 win in double overtime on Thursday night. He also had a goal earlier in the game. Afterward, racist comments were directed at him.
On Saturday, Subban followed with two assists in the Canadiens’ 5-3 loss to the Bruins that tied the best-of-seven series at one win each.
“First things first, the Boston Bruins are an original six franchise, they have been around for a very long time, they are respected,” Subban said after Saturday’s game while addressing the situation for the first time. “It’s completely unfair for anybody to point the finger at the organization or the fan base.
“They have passionate fans here, great fan base and since I’ve been in the league it’s been awesome. I’ve come to Boston many times, my family has come here, and it’s been great.
“What people may say on Twitter or social media is not a reflection by any means of the league or the Boston Bruins. So whoever that is, they’ll get dealt with, but it’s completely separate from this league or the Boston Bruins’ organization. I know some of those players personally on that team, like I said, the fan base has been awesome, they are a great bunch of fans.
“It’s unfortunate when things take away from the great hockey that was played two days ago. It was a fantastic game, great for the league, great for hockey, and that’s what we are going to talk about. So I’m happy now that we can just move on. You know what the funny thing is, is that we get stronger as a league, you see how people come together and it’s great.”
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said before Game 2 that “bias and hatred” have no place in the league.
On Friday, the Bruins released a statement condemning the racial tweets.
“The racist, classless views expressed by an ignorant group of individuals following Thursday’s game via digital media are in no way a reflection of anyone associated with the Bruins organization,” team president Cam Neely said in the statement.
In Saturday’s game, Reilly Smith scored with 3:32 remaining in the third period as host Boston overcame a late two-goal deficit to even its Eastern Conference second-round series with Montreal at one game apiece.
Patrice Bergeron collected a goal and an assist while Daniel Paille, Milan Lucic and defenseman Dougie Hamilton also tallied for the Bruins, who scored four times in under an eight-minute stretch in the third. Boston, which travels to the Bell Centre in Montreal for Game 3 on Tuesday night, split its two regular-season meetings in Montreal — dropping a 2-1 decision on Dec. 5 before breezing to a 4-1 triumph on March 12.
Thomas Vanek netted a pair of power-play goals and blue-liner Mike Weaver also tallied for the Canadiens, who have scored four times with the man advantage in the series. Subban notched a pair of assists in his team’s first setback of the postseason.
After Vanek’s offensive explosion gave Montreal a 3-1 lead, Hamilton’s wrist shot from the point midway into the third halved the deficit before Bergeron’s bid from along the right-wing boards fluttered past Carey Price (30 saves) with 5:43 left. Smith deposited defenseman Torey Krug’s circle-to-circle pass into the net to give Boston a 4-3 lead before Lucic sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 66 seconds to play.
With Bruins defenseman Andrej Meszaros serving a roughing penalty, Subban wired a pass from the left faceoff circle that deflected off Vanek’s stick in front and past Vezina Trophy finalist Tuukka Rask (25 saves) with 1:51 remaining in the second period to give the Canadiens a 2-1 edge. The duo teamed up again as Subban’s blast from the point was chipped home by Vanek at 6:30 of the third.