Marchand saves Bruins again amid stellar MVP-caliber season


Vancouver Canucks fans have probably had enough of Brad Marchand at this point.

Not only does the veteran left winger sometimes play an agitator style of hockey that annoys opposing players and their supporters, he also consistently scores at an elite level with an ability to come through in clutch moments.

Marchand did that on the biggest stage in hockey -- the Stanley Cup Final -- in 2011 when he tallied seven points (five goals, two assists) as the Bruins defeated the Canucks in a seven-game series to clinch a championship.

The 33-year-old forward came through again Sunday night with several huge plays that rescued a 3-2 win for the Bruins and added even more misery to a Canucks franchise going through one of its worst seasons in a long time.

The first clutch scoring moment came on a third-period power play with 11 minutes to go and Boston trailing 2-1. Out of the chaos in front of the net, Marchand found the puck and fired it past former teammate and Canucks goalie Jaroslav Halak to tie the score.

Marchand showed off his impressive stick handling moves on the winning goal, dancing around a Canucks defender before making a pretty pass to David Pastrnak to put the B's on top 3-2 with 3:24 remaining in regulation.

Marchand's two-point night gave him 24 points in 18 games this season. He leads the team in goals (nine) and assists (15), while also ranking third in shots (48). 


Consistency has been a huge part of his success, too. He's tallied at least one point in 15 of his 18 games played. Marchand has posted 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in 11 games in November.

There's no debate over which player is the team's MVP about a month-and-a-half into the 2021-22 campaign -- it's Marchand.

"He can help you win in a lot of ways," Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters after the win. "We saw it offensively, and we've been seeing it on the power play, penalty kill here for years.

"So, the physical part was good…he's our best player, plays, I think, the most minutes of any forward on our team. You hope it rubs off on other guys. That's what you hope at the end of the day."

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Marchand is the best left winger in hockey. Sure, Alexander Ovechkin is off to a hot start offensively. He's still an elite player. But he doesn't impact the game in as many ways as Marchand. The B's star plays at a high level during even strength, the power play, the penalty kill and every other situation. He's a two-way force and one of the toughest players to play against as a result.

Marchand tallied 256 points (93 goals, 163 assists) over the three previous seasons -- the most of any left winger over that span. He's well on his way to a sixth consecutive season scoring above a point per game.

Top Scorer

Points from 2018-19 to 2020-21
NHL rank among LWs

The Canucks were a very beatable opponent, one with the fourth-worst record in the league. The Bruins shouldn't have had as much trouble as they did getting the win Sunday night. That said, it was encouraging to see the team show some more fight in the third period, which is something that's been lacking throughout the year (21 third-period goals allowed in 18 games).

The third-period spark was set by Marchand, who the Bruins will need to keep playing at an elite level while the second, third and fourth lines get settled and improve.

"We haven't been able to string together too many real good 60-minute efforts, but I think we're going to be happy with the way that we were resilient in the third period and that's something that's been a strong suit for our team for a long time," Marchand told reporters.

"We did a great job getting back to that and not folding and being resilient. It was a big win."