BOSTON (CBS) – Brad Marchand didn’t find the back of the net during Boston’s seven-game series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but picked the perfect moment to get off the scoring schnide against the New York Rangers.
Marchand scored the game-winner for Boston 15:40 into overtime on Thursday night, giving Boston a 3-2 OT win and a 1-0 series lead over the Rangers.
For Marchand, it was all about turning the page from a goal-less series and focusing on the new task at hand.
“It’s a whole new series and we’re happy to play the Rangers,” Marchand said after the game. “They’re a very good team and a very good battle. It’s nice to finally get one there and get the monkey off the back, and hopefully they keep coming.”
The Rangers had the upper hand during regulation, but the Bruins dominated in overtime — putting 16 shots on net. The Rangers managed just five shots, but the B’s were still worried that even though they were dictating the action, one of those silly playoff goals could do them in.
“That’s usually how it goes in the playoffs. One team does very well in overtime and then the other team gets a lucky one. We hit so many posts and had so many very good opportunities. They were bound to get one,” said Marchand. “We’re happy that we’re able to capitalize in these overtime games. They’re very tough games to be in, but we’re happy with the win tonight.”
Hopefully this is the start of something good for the slumping Marchand, who led Boston with 18 goals in the regular season but hadn’t scored in his last 11 games. Marchand became a hero for Boston during their Stanley Cup run in 2011, scoring 11 goals to set a new Bruins record, and he received a message from his then-linemate Mark Recchi prior to Thursday night with a few words of encouragement.
“He just texted me and told me to play my game and not to worry about anything else,” said Marchand. “The goals and stuff will come. It’s nice to hear from him. He’s obviously a guy that I went through a lot when I played with him, and it was good to hear from him again.”
Maybe Recchi should shoot Marchand a text before every game. And on that note, maybe Marchand should get morning skates off as well.
There was a scare early Thursday when Marchand appeared to leave the ice in pain during the Bruins’ morning skate. But head coach Claude Julien quickly dismissed it as anything serious, and now he’s wondering if he should let Marchand leave practice early from now on.
“I think that’s what he needed to do, get off the ice early so he could score that winning goal. Whatever works is good for us,” Julien joked after the win. “I thought Brad, personally, I thought that was one of his better games so far in the playoffs. He skated well, made some great plays, he took pucks to the net and that’s the Brad Marchand that we know. It was nice to see him really bring his A-game to the table.”
“Claude knows I hate morning skates,” said Marchand. “He used to yell at me when we won the Cup there because I wouldn’t even take a stride. I just wanted to get off early.”
Marchand wasn’t the only player on the Bruins second line to struggle during the series against the Leafs, which prompted Julien to swap out Tyler Seguin with Jaromir Jagr. No one was sure how the Marchand-Jagr-Patrice Bergeron line would pan out, but the Bruins head coach said over the last two games, the line has shown a lot of promise.
“We put them together; we weren’t quite sure how it would turn out, but the first game, which was Game Seven, as the game went on, they got a little bit better, but I thought tonight, again, they took another step in the right direction,” said Julien. “They did a great job of cycling the puck down low in the offensive zone, and hanging on to it. That was a good line for us, and we’re going to need that because we don’t want to just rely on the [David] Krejci line to produce, but we want a little bit more out of our other lines.”
After barely making a whisper last series, the Bruins’ second line is starting to make some noise. And it should come as no surprise that Marchand is the one to get that noise started.
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