Bruins

Bruins star Brad Marchand's latest accomplishment highlights his stellar consistency

Bruins star Brad Marchand's latest accomplishment highlights his stellar consistency

BOSTON -- It's easy to take Brad Marchand's scoring production for granted.

The Boston Bruins winger is one of the NHL's best offensive players, and his three assists in Wednesday night's 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens put him over the 70-point mark for the fourth consecutive season. Marchand is the ninth player in Bruins history to tally 70-plus points four seasons in a row.

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He did it in style, too. Marchand's 70th point came in the first period when he dangled past a Canadiens player with a highlight-reel move before dishing the puck to linemate David Pastrnak for the game's first goal.

"At first, I drove really hard backdoor to make it 2-on-2, but at some point I kind of gave up driving and stopped skating," Pastrnak said of Marchand's incredible effort. "I was like, 'there's no way he can make that play' -- two or three guys on his back. Great play by him. It was an easy play for me. We all know how good of a player he is, and how good of a playmaker he's become."

"He had lots of initiative," Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said of Marchand. "The first goal, he did the majority of the work. (Pastrnak) went to the right place, of course, to finish, which he typically does. It’s like the other goal, Sean (Kuraly) did a lot of work — now, Pasta had great hands, allowed them to cut back, which we’ve seen lots of. But I agree with you, I think (Marchand) was dialed in today. Did a lot of things well, wanted to be a driver in the game for that line, and I thought he was."

Marchand entered the league as a pest playing a bottom-six role, and while being an agitator will always be a part of his game, his transformation into a consistent point-per-game scorer is quite impressive.

In 2016-17, he became the first Bruins player to tally more than 70 or more points in a season since Marc Savard's 88 in the 2008-09 campaign. Marchand finished 2016-17 with a career-high 85 points in 80 games, then followed it up with another 85 points in only 68 games the following season. Last season, the veteran winger became the first B's player to hit the 100-point mark since Joe Thornton in 2002-03. 

Marchand now has 72 points (23 goals, 49 assists) in 58 games this season. This puts him in sixth place on the league's scoring leaderboard. 

Here's a look at the league's top scorers since the beginning of the 2016-17 season. Only four players have totaled more points than Marchand over that span.

1. Connor McDavid, Oilers: 405 points in 297 games
2. Nikita Kucherov, Lightning: 383 points in 292 games
3. Patrick Kane, Blackhawks: 344 points in 301 games
4. Brad Marchand, Bruins: 342 points in 295 games
5. Leon Draisaitl, Oilers: 341 points in 298 games

Marchand benefits from playing alongside two other really talented offensive players in Patrice Bergeron and Pastrnak. Bergeron has scored 20-plus goals seven years in a row, while Pastrnak currently leads the league in goals with 41. That said, Marchand's stats when he's not playing with Bergeron and Pastrnak are still pretty good. In 89:40 of ice time away from Pastrnak and 83:28 of ice time away from Bergeron at 5-on-5, Marchand has a goals-for percentage and a scoring chances-for percentage above 50, per Natural Stat Trick. So, the ice is tilted in Boston's favor regardless of who's on the ice with Marchand during 5-on-5 action.

The Bruins are the sixth-highest scoring team in the league and have the best line in hockey. They also own the league's best record and look every bit like a team ready to return to the Stanley Cup Final. Marchand's elite two-way play, highlighted by his consistent offensive production, is a huge reason why the Bruins are in a strong position as the final stretch of the regular season gets underway.

Shawn Thornton, Mark Recchi reflect on Bruins' Game 7 vs. Canadiens in 2011

Shawn Thornton, Mark Recchi reflect on Bruins' Game 7 vs. Canadiens in 2011

The Boston Bruins' 2011 Stanley Cup run was unbelievable -- especially since Claude Julien's team was considered an underdog throughout the entirety of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

Although Tim Thomas, David Krejci and Nathan Horton played key roles in the 2011 championship, everyone did their job, including Mark Recchi and Shawn Thornton. 

Recchi and Thornton reflected on that historic 2011 Cup run in a recent interview with SportsNet's Eric Engels and solely focused on Game 7 of their quarterfinals matchup with the Montreal Canadiens.  

"The whole series was so intense like it always is with Montreal and Boston and it just got elevated because you're in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoffs," Recchi said of an epic Game 7 against the Habs. "Just the energy and the passion in both teams displayed was just incredible to be a part of. There was a lot of ups and downs throughout the whole game and it just showed you how even everything was throughout the whole year with our two teams." 

Thornton had a similar take but also mentioned how much the B's-Habs rivalry impacted his career. 

"This rivalry was everything for my career," Thornton said. "I loved playing Montreal. I love being involved. I loved the passion, the fire. This game... was I even on the ice for most of it? I think I just had the best seat in the house. I think most people in Boston paid $1,000 bucks and I just got to sit there for free and watch Recchi do his thing.

"But you know, we were lucky we ended up moving on and had a great finale to that season. Being there was a lot different than the Game 7 my first year when I was in Boston when we lost to Montreal. That rivalry was at its height when we were playing there and I'm just happy to have been a part of it. Doesn't matter what side you're on really. I mean, I'm a Bruin in those days but either side you just had to enjoy the rivalry."

And of course there would've been no Stanley Cup victory without former Bruins head coach Claude Julien, and Thornton reflected on how much of an influence Julien had on that 2011 team throughout the entire season.

"I remember Lake Placid the most. We were going to Lake Placid to hide but when you go to Lake Placid there's nowhere to hide so all the media knew we were going there and it ended up being a bigger fishbowl," Thornton said. "But, Claude [Julien] was amazing at the one game at a time or the one period at a time. Like we don't have to win four straight guys. We don't even have to win the next two games, we just have to win the next period and then take it from there.

"I think our team really adopted that. He should also send Recchi and Horton some of his paychecks that he's still getting because he wouldn't be getting those sheets in Montreal if it wasn't for us winning that game. We were there for a lot of years together and he definitely had a calming influence when it came to those situations and our leadership group in the room too was huge for us."

After defeating Montreal in seven games, the B's went on to sweep the Philadelphia Flyers in the semifinals, crush the Tampa Bay Lightning's hopes in the conference finals, and well, we all know what happened in the Stanley Cup Final. 

That team was something special, and the only members from that squad still with the Bruins are Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask. 

If one thing's for sure, those four guys will need to become leaders in the 2020 playoffs, provided they happen, and help Boston avenge its 2019 finals loss to the St. Louis Blues. 

You can watch the full interview below or by clicking here. 

Bruins' David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk to play Fornite Saturday as part of COVID-19 fundraiser

Bruins' David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk to play Fornite Saturday as part of COVID-19 fundraiser

Life without hockey might be getting to David Pastrnak.

The thing Pasta is doing Saturday, along with Bruins teammate Jake DeBrusk, is participating in "Twitch Stream Aid" a fundraiser for coronavirus, a.k.a. COVID-19, relief. 

DeBrusk and Pastrnak will be playing Fortnite along with Toronto Maple Leafs teammates Zach Hyman and William Nylander. 

The event's website describes it as, "The worlds of gaming, music, and sports are coming together to benefit the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO [World Health Organization] powered by the United Nations Foundation."