It didn’t take long for the Capitals’ Matt Hendricks to settle a score with Montreal’s Rene Bourque.
Just 1:15 into Wednesday’s 3-0 victory at Bell Centre, the winger challenged Bourque and the two squared off.
Bourque, of course, knocked Washington’s leading scorer Nicklas Backstrom out of the lineup indefinitely with a vicious elbow to the head on Jan. 3.
Hendricks said there was no discussion with Bourque on the ice before the fight, and added that the Habs winger seemed to know what was coming.
“It’s part of ‘The Code,’ part of the game,” Hendricks said. “There are consequences for all actions. He was a great sport about it. He knows the game; I’m sure he wanted to get it out of the way as soon as he could.”
Hendricks added: “I just said, ‘Let’s go,’ and he said, ‘Yeah.’ That’s kind of how it works.”
The scrap featured both combatants firing jabs but it ended with Bourque taking Hendricks down.
Bourque was not challenged again as the Capitals focused on securing the other thing they had come to get: two points in the standings.
“These points are big,” Hendricks added. “We’re not going to let something like that take away from our game and take away from what we’re here for. We got it done early and focused on the task at hand.”
Troy Brouwer credited the fight with tilting the ice in the Capitals’ favor in the opening minutes.
“When you do something like that and you get suspended five games, you obviously have to expect some repercussions,” Brouwer said of Bourque. “It’s not like we were focusing on it. The opportunity was there and Hendo stepped and did a great job.”
“Any time you stand up for a teammate,” Brouwer added, “whether it’s in the same game or later down the road, it really gets the guys up.”
Mathieu Perreault and Marcus Johansson each scored in the seven minutes following the fight.
“We ended up scoring a couple there,” Hendricks said. “Does that give us a lift? I’m not a 100 percent sure. But I’d like to say it does.”
A few more notes before I shut down the laptop for the night:
*Brouwer wore the alternate captain’s ‘A’ on his jersey for the first time this season.
“I came to the rink and it happened to be on my jersey,” he said. “I don’t know what it is. Coaches must think I’m doing something right.”
Coach Dale Hunter added: “You see him out there sacrificing. We’ve moved [the ‘A’] around. Troy is blocking a lot of shots and gets one of the most hits in the league. He plays as hard game and he’s hard to play against.”
*Hendricks said he was “okay” after absorbing a knee on knee hit from Erik Cole late in the second period and did not appear to be walking with a limp.
*Marcus Johansson’s apparent leg/thigh injury might bear watching. After a hit late in the third period, he went to the bench in obvious pain did not return to the ice. But the center told reporters after the game that he expects to be fine.