The Boston Bruins didn’t get back into the win column Wednesday night without some punches between AJ Greer and Wayne Simmonds.
It all started when Greer scored on Ilya Samsonov to give Boston a two-goal lead in the third period. Just seconds after the Bruins and Maple Leafs reset to face off, Greer and Simmonds immediately dropped their gloves and walked out. However, Simmonds would get the best of Greer, taking him to the ground before the two attackers were separated by the officials and sent off for a penalty.
Greer admitted the rush of energy from scoring his fifth goal of the season was a factor in his reaction within seconds of accepting the challenge. And looking back, the 26-year-old admitted that “it wasn’t the best decision.”
“I think he asked for it, and I was just on the adrenaline from just scoring, so I don’t know,” Greer said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “It wasn’t the best decision because we went 3-1 up, but it’s hard for me to say no. I’m the kind of person who competes hard and I don’t know, I just want the upper edge all the time.”
This wasn’t the first time Greer had taken issue with Simmonds. When the Maple Leafs visited the Bruins at TD Garden on Jan. 14, Greer and Simmonds exchanged words that did not result in a fight, but the pair were fined every 10 minutes by the officials.
“I didn’t even think twice, I just said ‘Yes,'” Greer said. “When I tried to hit him at first, I didn’t catch him, so it was hard for me to come back because he has a long reach. But I defended myself and nothing came of it. … He had that touch against me, so it was just a matter of making sure I was going to be safe in that situation, but I just thought I couldn’t say no to the fair cause of the emotions I was going through.”
Greer and the Bruins went on to snap their three-game losing streak with a 5-2 win and enter the NHL All-Star break with a league-leading 39-7-5 record to end the first half of the season.