BOSTON -- Brad Marchand couldn’t help but throw a little shade at the attention paid to recent offensive struggles for him, and the more pronounced ones for his center Patrice Bergeron. That’s mostly because the Bruins agitator and Bergeron both busted out for second period goals in Boston’s dominant 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night, and then expressed dismay that anyone noted their aforementioned goal-scoring slowdown as it was in process.
“We’re not worried. The furthest thing from our minds is if we’re going to score, if we’re going to produce. We know we are,” said Marchand, who went into Saturday night with one goal in his last eight games. “Maybe we were catching a little heat in the media today, so that was for all you guys. But it is nice for [the puck] to go in. It does help build your confidence, and we do need to produce.
“That’s part of our job, and, you know, we know that, but we’re getting opportunities every single game. We could easily have two, three goals every game, our line, so, you know, when the chances stop coming that’s when, you know, we get a little frustrated. But [the chances] are there every game and they’ll continue to be there.”
Marchand’s swagger is always appreciated, of course, and it’s pretty hard to find fault with a player that’s got six goals and 17 points in 18 games along with a plus-8 rating for the season.
But the Bergeron line’s fiery spokesperson would at the very least admit, however, there were far more chances for them on Saturday night than there had been in the recent past after Boston scored a grand total of four goals on their recent three-game road trip. Marchand had five shots on net and seven shot attempts overall, and Bergeron obliterated his six game pointless streak with six shots on net and 10 shot attempts overall.
He also kept on pushing right through when he clanged the crossbar with a point blank chance in the second period, and would have been entirely excused if he thought it was going to be another bad bounce kind of night for him.
“It was the perfect example of what we talked about this morning: you’ve got to stay with it and not get frustrated,” said Bergeron, who did have a whopping 25 shots on net in the six previous games where he’d been held without a point. “Eventually you know it’s going to go in, but I was happy it was tonight, though. It was great to finally get the pucks going in. I thought we were getting the chances, especially lately, and we talked about doing the job for the team and everybody buying in.
“It’s nice for us to get those goals, but at the same time we need to play the same way if things are going to fall into place for us every night.”
Despite all the shots, it took a second period wave of offense for the Black and Gold’s star forwards to finally get on the board. After a Matt Beleskey score in the first couple of minutes in the second period gave Boston the initial lead, it was a combination of heady Zdeno Chara pass and strong individual move from Marchand that really got the engine humming.
Chara fed a stretch pass up to a speeding Marchand with D-man Dustin Byfuglien completely asleep at the wheel, and the Bruins forward drove straight to the net before backhanding a shot past Michael Hutchinson for his sixth goal of the season. Roughly five minutes later Bergeron snapped home a PP one-timer from the left wing circle mere moments after he’d wrung the crossbar, and finally tallied his first power play point of the season in his 15th game of the season.
To put that in perspective, Bergeron had 12 power play goals and 25 PP points last season while serving as the Black and Gold conductor from his “bumper” spot in the slot. So to say he was due on Saturday night would be an understatement, but one could feel that an explosion from No. 63 and No. 37 was imminent with the Jets in town.
“That helps a lot. I think you know I talked about it this morning, sometimes you have to be patient and in their case, when I look at the game afterwards and the results, they had scoring chances, and they haven’t been able to score. It’s not like they aren’t creating anything,” said Claude Julien. “That’s when you have to be patient because you know it’s a matter of time, even before Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] scores his goal, he hits the cross bar.
“So you know he’s a little snake-bitten, but he stuck with it and he finally got that goal. Marshy [Brad Marchand] scored, so a lot of good things happened tonight. I’m hoping it’s going to be a positive sign moving forward here and that’s some of those guys taking a bit of pressure off their shoulders of producing. I like the way they played again tonight, and we got some production spread out a little bit, and that continues to be good for us.”
The bottom line with the Bruins right now: they’ve been pretty good over the first couple months this season, but they’re also 22nd in the NHL in overall offense (2.4 goals per game) and 21st on the power play (13.8 percent success rate) so far this season. The offense has been passable so far, but one of the biggest ways it can get better is if the umpteen chances for Bergeron, Marchand and Co. turn into actual goals as they continue operating the puck possession game to perfection against just about every opponent.