Marchand 'feeling it,' drops five points in win vs. Flyers


Marchand 'feeling it,' drops five points in win vs. Flyers

BOSTON – It usually happens once or twice a season, so the Bruins are standing back and enjoying Brad Marchand going fully nuclear on opponents with his high-energy offensive arsenal.

The Bruins left winger scored a pair of goals in Boston’s 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon, and now has seven goals in his last five games while helping to lead a goal-scoring resurgence for the Black and Gold. In all Marchand finished with a game-high five points (two goals, three assists) and was the offensive linchpin for the Bruins in an important win over a Flyers club they’re competing with for playoff position.

Marchand didn’t want to call it a hot streak or toot his own horn, but instead wanted focus on the entire Bruins offense getting well lately after some big time struggles in the first half.

“I think it’s just, that’s how hockey goes sometimes. [Sometimes] pucks bounce your way and other times they don’t, you know? It is nice when things are going your way and you feel a little more confident,” said Marchand. “You’re able to do things that you’re a little nervous to try at different times. But again, I think our team is playing really good hockey right now and everyone is just playing good [hockey].

“We need the older guys to lead the way. So, the guys did a great job stepping up and again, everyone played well. Tuukks [Tuukka Rask] played good – made some big saves at the right time – penalty kill stepped up when we really needed them too and power play, again, has been hot lately. So we have to keep all that going.”

The first Marchand goal was the more important of the two as it came after the B’s had fallen down 1-0 early in the first period. The Bruins agitator made certain it wouldn’t last for long, and stole a puck from Sean Couturier while doing PK work and engineering himself a shorthanded breakaway. Marchand beat rookie Ivan Provorov in a footrace down the ice, and slid a shorthanded bid five-hole on Michael Neuvirth as he was being vigorously hooked by the Flyers D-man.

It stopped Philly’s momentum, and served as notice to the rest of the Bruins that Marchand had come to play in a big game for Boston.

“I think right now, he’s feeling it, and that’s the word I use when I talk about Brad [Marchand]. When he’s feeling it, he makes a lot of good things happen and it hasn’t always been like that this year,” said Claude Julien. “But now he’s starting to heat up, and that’s a good sign. That’s one of the key traits that he has, is anticipation and knowing when to make those moves that he’s been making in less high-risk situations. It’s nice to see him coming around that way.”

Marchand added his 17th goal of the season late in the third period on the empty Flyers net to ice the game, and now has seven goals and 12 points in his last six games. Clearly the bursts of offense are always welcome from the Nose Face Killah anytime, but they come to the Bruins now as they look to go on an extended winning stretch built by their best players, like Marchand, coming to play with a vengeance every single night. 

Banged up B's 'look forward to the challenge' vs Tampa team they're chasing

USA TODAY Sports Photo

Banged up B's 'look forward to the challenge' vs Tampa team they're chasing

TAMPA BAY – It certainly might not be the shape they envisioned themselves being in when these late season games arrived against the President’s Trophy favorites in Tampa Bay, but the Bruins are bracing for a showdown with the high-powered Lightning either way. 

The Bruins stand just four points behind the Bolts with one game in hand, and mathematically they absolutely have a shot of catching and surpassing the Lightning for the NHL’s top spot with three games remaining against them in the season’s final month. But realistically it’s got to be considered a long shot at this point with Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Charlie McAvoy and Jake DeBrusk all out for Saturday night’s meeting with Tampa, and Bergeron and McAvoy expected to potentially miss all three of their divisional scraps. 

Coming off a 3-0 shutout loss at the hands of the Florida Panthers and at the end of a week-long, four-game road trip, the Bruins know they’re going to need to tighten things up against a Lightning team they can’t match firepower with in their weakened state. 

“I think we’ve done a pretty good job of just playing the game in front of us, and not getting too far ahead, too high or too low. We’ve got the best team in the National Hockey League, arguably, at home and rested [in front of us],” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “We look forward to the challenge. They’re a high-scoring team, so we talked about that with our goaltenders and our ‘D’ today. We better be ‘on’ because they’ll be coming. Our forwards are going to have to help out in that area and make sure we’re reloading well, and keep getting pucks at the net. 

“We didn’t finish [against Florida] but it wasn’t because of lack of effort or lack of pucks at the net. That part of our game is trending pretty well offensively. I think you’re going to have score to a certain extent against this team because you’re not going to shut them down completely. That’s our game plan for whoever is going to be in the lineup. They’ve got to be ready for it because that’s how it works, and that’s how it’s worked all year long for us. We need the guys in there to do their part and do it well.”

Certainly the Bruins could still do some offensive damage with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak still intact on their top line, and David Krejci and Rick Nash also still developing their chemistry on the second line. Torey Krug also came through feeling healthy at practice on Friday after soaking up 26 plus minutes of ice time in the loss to Florida, so they’ll also have some puck-moving and offensive pop on the back end as well.

But it may come down to the Chara-less defense and Tuukka Rask to step up and go into shutdown mode against the Lightning if they’re looking to really push up on the Lightning, and make this a horse race for the Atlantic Division down the stretch. Not to mention, it would be a psychological swing for both teams if the Bruins could take down a rested, relatively healthy Tampa Bay hockey club with their undermanned, injury-ravaged bunch. 

That in and of itself should be plenty of motivation for a Bruins team that’s got their sights and set on bigger and better things this spring with the Lightning expected to be one of the big obstacles standing in their way.


Morning Skate: Tavares or Seguin?

NBC Sports Boston Photo

Morning Skate: Tavares or Seguin?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while jacked and pumped about that Infinity War trailer. Wow. 


*Credit here for something outside the box and clear hockey satire while looking far into the NHL’s crystal ball where the new expansion team is called the Seattle Slippery Seals, and Brad Marchand is the head of the NHLPA. That is quite a twist at the end of the movie right there. 


*The Hockey Central crew debates whether they would want John Tavares or Tyler Seguin as a player to build their team around. Seguin is having a solid year (with the end of his contract coming into view), but I’m going with Tavares all day long. I think he’s more of a competitor and a reliable player along with an equitable level of talent, and that counts for quite a bit in team-building. 


*It’s good to see the PHWA decide to make public the ballots of all NHL Awards starting at the end of this season. It’s something I voted in favor of and already did annually as I think transparency is something we always ask for from those we cover, so it should never be something we shy away from. 


*The Flyers have hit the skids again after pushing themselves into playoff view. This has been such a streak team over the last couple of years. 


*Pro Hockey Talk says that the Montreal Canadiens need to take a long look into the mirror before they move on from this season. I couldn’t agree more. 


*For something completely different: I feel badly for my kids that Toys R us is liquidating as a company, and the stores will be closing. It’s getting to the point where there will be no more brick and mortar toy stores for kids to visit, and that’s something from my youth experience that they’re going to miss out on. Frankly, it’s kind of sad.