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Bruins-Panthers animosity hits new level after Bennett hit on Marchand

Bruins-Panthers animosity hits new level after Bennett hit on Marchand originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The animosity between the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers keeps rising as their Eastern Conference second-round series gets further along.

Panthers center Sam Bennett reportedly won't be fined or suspended for a questionable hit on Bruins left wing Brad Marchand during the first period of Friday night's Game 3 at TD Garden.

Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald reported Saturday that no discipline from the NHL will be coming to Bennett.

Bennett hit Marchand pretty hard near the Bruins bench, knocking down the Boston captain. Marchand was slow to get up, and although he did play through the end of the second period, he missed the entire third period due to an upper body injury. There was no penalty called on the play.

The initial replays of the hit didn't look too egregious, but other angles -- including the one in the video below -- make it fair to wonder if Bennett gave Marchand a jab to the head.

Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery had some interesting comments on the Bennett hit after Saturday's practice.

“In real time, my eyes weren’t on there as the puck had left that area,” Montgomery told reporters. “But having seen it, there’s a history there with Bennett. Hard player, but there’s clearly evidence of what went on. People can say it wasn’t intentional, but we have our view of it.”

This angle, shared by TNT on Sunday, clearly shows Bennett hit Marchand in the head:

Marchand is considered "day to day," per Montgomery.

Panthers head coach Paul Maurice unsurprisingly had a different view of Bennett's hit on Marchand.

Bennett made a similar hit on Toronto Maple Leafs forward Matthew Knies during the second round of last season's playoffs. He was not suspended, but Knies missed the last three games of the series with a concussion.

Bennett returned to the Panthers lineup in Game 3 on Friday after missing the previous five games due to injury.

The Panthers won 6-2 in Game 3 and have a 2-1 series lead entering Game 4 at TD Garden on Sunday night.