BOSTON – As goes the Bruins in these playoffs, so goes Brad Marchand.
Fair or unfair, the Bruins were victorious in Game 1 when Marchand scored a goal in the third period and they’ve fallen in the past two games while their leading scorer from the regular season has been held off the board.
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Marchand managed just a single shot on net and zero points in 21:22 of ice time and missed the net with three shot attempts in the 4-3 overtime loss in Game 3.
Clearly there is plenty of blame to go around in the losses in Game 2 and 3 for the Black and Gold and No. 63 hasn’t been a weak link on any of the plays where those games have been lost. Still, Marchand becomes one of the bigger targets because he is Boston’s best player (39 goals, 85 points in the regular season) and expected to be a driving force offensively in one-goal games.
“Brad Marchand was what, the fifth-leading scorer in the National Hockey League this year? He’s going to get keyed on. So part of the process for him becoming an elite player is to play through that, take advantage of the opportunities, and certainly we can get him away from certain matchups,” said Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy after Game 3. “But at the end of the day, they’re going to get the D pair out against him for the most part, unless there’s an O-zone face-off after an icing, and we try to get that matchup. But obviously, he’s got to play through it. He scored a big goal for us in Game 1.
“He was the difference in the game, so March [Brad Marchand] can create a little more out there, and he will. We’ll talk to him tomorrow about it, but at the end of the day, that’s what happens when you’re an elite player. You’re going to get marked, and you’ve got to find your way through the checking part of the game, because they’ve got a number of guys. They’re a good defensive team. It’s not like one guy is all over him, it’s just, he’s one of the guys you circle on the board.”
Clearly, Marchand gets it as well. He was one of the Bruins knowing there is more to give as Boston has fallen 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. It’s a matter of digging deep and finding it before things can be quickly over in the postseason.
“The big thing is just try and push through it. I would say I have to be better; I haven’t been at my best so far, but guys have done a really good job of stepping up,” said Marchand, who also took a cross-checking penalty out of frustration as Bobby Ryan took a flying leap into the boards in front of the Ottawa bench. “Every night we have four lines going and that’s what we need.”
The time is now for Marchand and the Bruins, who need to show up and find a winning formula Wednesday night in Game 4 on home ice or this series may get to a point that they can’t come back from this time around.