Marchand gets revenge vs. Flyers, but is he taking too many big hits?


Marchand gets revenge vs. Flyers, but is he taking too many big hits?

PHILADELPHIA – The Flyers learned the hard way on Saturday afternoon that you wouldn’t want to play Brad Marchand after you get him angry.

Marchand was blasted by an Ivan Provorov check to the head early in the game that knocked him out for the rest of the first period, and inexplicably got cross-checked by Shayne Gostisbehere when the Flyers on the power play in the second period. In between he played a starring role in a pair of second-period goals that helped the 3-0 final score over the Flyers after returning to the ice with a vengeful attitude once he knew he’d be okay.

“A little bit. I was a little bit frustrated. I think been hit more this year than every other year of my career combined. I just need to do a better job of keeping my head up,” said a smirking Marchand. “I felt fine. I more just got it in the mouth and in the nose, which I guess is to be expected.”


Marchand is exactly right. He got dinged up weeks ago after a heavy check from Capitals hard-hitter Tom Wilson and then again during a home-and-home with the Maple Leafs when Leo Komarov tagged him a couple of times as well.

That’s a lot of abuse before even considering Provorov’s actions stepping up and crunching Marchand when he got caught with his head down. That’s far too much wear and tear considering how valuable Marchand is to the Bruins in his do-everything role, and how much trouble they’d be in without him this season.   

Marchand started his assault on the Flyers with a nifty little face-off play in the offensive zone. Patrice Bergeron lost the draw, but Marchand jumped right in between a group of stunned Philly skaters and quickly fed the puck to David Pastrnak waiting to shoot it from the slot. Pastrnak buried it past Brian Elliott for his 13th goal of the season, and the Bruins doubled their lead in the middle period.

He wasn’t done yet, however, as he got into the goal-scoring action in the second period as well. Marchand cut to the net and took a high-to-low pass from Charlie McAvoy that allowed him to shovel a puck past Elliott for a commanding three-goal lead. Shortly after that Gostisbehere cross-checked Marchand's hand after an innocent dump-in to the Flyers zone, and in doing so completely wiped out a Philly power play.

“He always plays with that edge, and people get angry with him on the other team,” said Tuukka Rask. “They take runs at him, and he doesn’t let that bother him. Some years ago he might have let his game slip a little bit, but now he just goes back out there and puts it in the net. That’s the best way to do it, right?”

It was a dumb play by Gostisbehere to be sure, but it also showed that Marchand had passed on his anger to a Flyers group that was about to lose their 10th game in a row. That’s the revenge served cold that No. 63 was looking for after returning from the first intermission, and exactly the kind of thing that fires up his teammates once they see that he’s okay.

“It looked like a high hit. I thought it was a dangerous hit that should have been more than two minutes. He’s been knocked around a bit this year, and obviously gets targeted just like [David Pastrnak]. We’ll have to address that, but it was nice to see him bounce back,” said Cassidy. “He’s a top end guy for us that does everything.”

Given that Marchand missed eight out of ten games while in the concussion protocol prior to his latest return to the lineup, there should be some concern about how the Bruins are going to protect both No. 63 and No. 88 as they continue to dominate offensively. It doesn’t help that tough guy Adam McQuaid is injured and unable to currently help protect those two skill players, but the Bruins need to start considering perhaps the addition of a little more toughness to the lineup if the current group can’t start discouraging some of the increased cheap shots and heavy hits.

Maybe the return of David Backes and the presence of the ultra-tough Kevan Miller is enough to go along with captain Zdeno Chara on the B’s roster, but it certainly feels like other teams aren’t exhibiting any trepidation taking runs at Marchand right now.  

Above and beyond that the Bruins are doing what they should when a team targets a player, and that means watching a guy like Marchand exact his revenge with explosive offense rather than his own brand of on-the-edge antics.   


Bruins resiliency on full display in third-period comeback vs Stars

AP Photo

Bruins resiliency on full display in third-period comeback vs Stars

GOLD STAR: Every once in a while Brad Marchand wills the Bruins to a win that they probably wouldn’t have otherwise had, and that happened again on Friday night with a three-point explosion for No. 63 in the final 20 minutes. Marchand finished with a goal and three points in 19:57 of ice time along with a plus-2 rating, and played a key role in the three-goal outburst that allowed the B’s to vanquish a 2-0 deficit. It was Marchand that opted not to shoot from the face-off dot with a look at the net in the closing seconds, and instead dropped it down low to David Pastrnak as he curled around the net and pushed a puck past Kari Lehtonen for the game-winner. Marchand finished with two shots on net, eight total shot attempts and a number of big plays in the third period redirecting pucks in close, kicking off shorthanded scoring plays and then setting up clutch game-winners in the final 15 seconds of the game. It’s the kind of night where Marchand played like an MVP even if he isn’t going to get much of a sniff at the Hart Trophy. 

BLACK EYE: Jamie Benn scored a shorthanded goal for the Dallas Stars, but he also jumped up in the air and clobbered Brad Marchand from behind with a completely unnecessary hit in the third period that went without a penalty being called. Instead it seemed to incense Marchand, who never gave up in the final sequence and ultimately fed a pass to David Pastrnak down low for the game-winner with just 11.1 seconds remaining in the game. Benn finished a minus-2 for Dallas while being on the ice for a pair of goals against, had a brutal 1-for-7 performance in the face-off dot and really acted like a punk on the play with Marchand in the third period. Benn is a better player than that and shouldn’t be resorting that level on a fellow star player like Marchand. 

TURNING POINT: Once again the Bruins really turned things around in the third period while outscoring the Stars by a 3-0 margin, and really flooding the Dallas net with 10 of their 36 shots on net for the night. It all started with a relentless shift from Boston’s top line where Riley Nash made a pass from his knees before taking a big hit, and then Brad Marchand redirected a David Pastrnak shot from the slot off his leg and into the net for Boston’s first goal. That first score finally allowed the Bruins to begin building some momentum, score each of the next two goals as the game slipped away from Dallas and once again proved themselves as a hockey club that one doesn’t ever doubt in the third period. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Tuukka Rask had a career-high 40 saves and turned away some really good looks from the Dallas offense while showing exactly what the Bruins can be capable of when their goaltending is on point. The only goals that beat Rask were a first period score with droves of traffic in front of the net, and a second period shorthanded score for Jamie Benn where he pulled one of those unconventional finishing moves on Rask at the very end. Rask made 11 saves on the Dallas power play alone during a trio of PP chances, and made a crucial leg pad save on Antoine Roussel in the third period that helped open things up for the goal-scoring outburst late in the game. Hopefully the strong, resounding performance from Rask answers some of the questions about some of his recent so-so performances between the pipes.   

BY THE NUMBERS: 29 – the number of goals this season for David Pastrnak as he readies to become only the ninth Bruins player to hit the 30-goal plateau in back-to-back seasons over the last 35 years of franchise history. 

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Resiliency. We didn’t want to go quietly for sure. We can live with the end result as long as we play the right way. The end result went our way again in the end, and I think that’s a credit to the guys.” –Bruce Cassidy to NESN about another comeback win for the Black and Gold.

Pastrnak scores with 12 seconds left to lift Bruins over Stars, 3-2

AP Photo

Pastrnak scores with 12 seconds left to lift Bruins over Stars, 3-2

DALLAS - David Pastrnak broke a tie with 12 seconds left and the Boston Bruins scored three straight goals in the third period to rally past the fading Dallas Stars 3-2 on Friday night.

A scramble followed a faceoff in the Dallas end, and Brad Marchand passed to Pastrnak in front. While falling down, he put the puck past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.

TALKING POINTS: B's resiliency on full display vs Stars

Tuukka Rask made a season-high 40 saves for the Bruins. Marchand scored Boston's first goal and also assisted on a short-handed goal by Tim Schaller that tied it midway through the third period.

The second-place Bruins won for the first time in three games (1-0-2) to move within four points of Atlantic Division leader Tampa Bay. Boston has already clinched a playoff berth.

The Stars are winless in their last seven games (0-5-2). They remained four points behind Colorado for the second Western Conference wild card.

Dallas led 2-0 on a first-period goal by Esa Lindell and Jamie Benn's short-handed score late in the second.

In the third, Marchand tipped in a shot by Pastrnak before Schaller scored on a 2-on-1 with Marchand.

Lehtonen finished with 33 saves.

Lindell scored 2:26 into the game. Jason Dickinson tried to deflect a shot from the right point into the net but the puck went wide right. Curtis McKenzie picked it up behind the goal line and passed to Lindell high in the left faceoff circle. His wrist shot went in off Rask's right arm.

Benn missed two good scoring opportunities early in the second period, but connected at 19:22. He took a pass from Tyler Seguin at the Dallas blue line and had a breakaway when Matt Grzelcyk fell down. Benn slid a backhand under Rask.