BOSTON -- Brad Marchand has always had the ability to get under his opponents skin, but now hes become the subject of fan scorn in Washington.
After the Little Ball of Hate hit the deck following a collision with Jason Chimera at the end of the second period -- a play that led to a the game-tying goal for the Capitals in Game 6 -- the Caps fans have taken to attacking No. 63 as a diver.
Replays show Chimera grazed Marchands upper body, spinning the fiery right winger like a top and dropping him to the ice.
Marchand was left far behind the play following the collision, and Chimera was able to beat Dennis Seidenberg to the net for the goal when the German defensemans skate blade broke at the worst possible moment.
But Marchand, often one of the smallest guys on the ice, has been the target of Washingtons heavy hits throughout the series, whether it was Jason Chimera spearing him between the legs or Karl Alzner grazing his face with an elbow during Bostons Game 3 victory.
Marchand's also in the business of attempting to draw penalties in a series where one power play goal could mean the difference between advancing or being on a golf course next week. Because of that, Marchand has been anointed by Capitals fans as the Bruins resident flopper.
Claude Julien has always prided himself on coaching a team that doesnt embellish or flop to curry favor from the officials the way the Canucks and Canadiens have done rather flamboyantly in the past.
Marchands teammates quickly arrived at Marchand's defense when presented with the question of whether or not somebody nicknamed named Nose Face Killah could possibly be on a diving team.
"I dont have anything to say with it to be honest with you," Patrice Bergeron said. "I didnt see him dive, but Brad Marchand plays the game hard, plays the game with a lot of pride. Last year Marchands play was a huge reason why we went all the way. Im very happy to have him on my side.
A couple things in Marchands defense on the diving plays in question: Alzner approached Marchand apologize for nearly taking him out with a head shot that even the Washington defenseman admitted he felt badly about in Game 3, and Marchand was spitting blood immediately after the collision with Chimera that led to Washingtons goal in Game 6.
So perhaps that whole Marchand diving thing isnt quite as black-and-white as some Capitals pom-poms would have one believe.