Patriots

Marchand getting results back on the power play

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Marchand getting results back on the power play

Brad Marchand admitted some rust when he first jumped back into the lineup after a five-game suspension from the NHL for his low-bridge hit on Sami Salo.

Marchand was also able to jump back onto the power play unit when Nathan Horton went down against the Philadelphia Flyers with a concussion, and the results have been pretty impressive. The Bs agitator was on the PP unit at the start of the season, but his man advantage time had been nearly nonexistent over the last month prior to the Horton injury.

Marchand also had a few chances early in the game he didnt bury before toe-picking on a potential breakaway chance right in front of the net. It was an adventure in the worst possible sense of the word, but the left winger found a way to make it a happy ending against the Sens.

We had a lot of opportunities early on that normally would be goals and we were unable to capitalize it was a little frustrating, but it was great to be able to tie it up in the third period, said Marchand. We started playing like ourselves in the third; we did a great job finding a way to win and at the end of the day thats what matters. We have to clean up different parts of our game and get back to where we were playing in the third. We just have to build on how we played on the third and hopefully continue that in the next game.
Putting Marchand on the man advantage was a good start for the Bs.

Marchand has had a power play goal in each of the last two full games since being placed onto the power play and is now tied with Tyler Seguin for fourth on the Bruins with four man advantage scores this year.

Marchands game-tying score in Tuesday nights 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators was his typical special teams score. Joe Corvo fired off a shot from the right point that Craig Anderson was able to make the initial stop on, but the puck bounced right back to the goal-mouth.

The 5-foot-8, 183-pound Marchand outmuscled 6-foot-3, 220-pound Chris Phillips for the loose puck right in front of the net and immediately flicked the biscuit back into the open net. That was the capping moment on a solid night for both Marchand and Tyler Seguin, who both drew penalties that led to power play goals in the first and third period helping power the Bs.

Its nice being back on the power playyou build a little more chemistry with the line and evident out there when we move the puck around like we can, said Marchand. We got some opportunities and a couple goals. Hopefully we can keep building off that.

The puck was just kind of bouncing around and thats my job to be in front of the PP. It was nice the puck came bouncing my way.
It wasnt pretty, but it was honest, hard hockey work that helped Marchand and the Bruins pull out a game in the third period that perhaps they didnt deserve.

Boston Sports Breakfast Podcast: Can Patriots get back on track? Horford injury becoming a concern?

Boston Sports Breakfast Podcast: Can Patriots get back on track? Horford injury becoming a concern?

Can the Patriots turn it around once they reach the playoffs? Andy Hart and Troy Brown discuss the Pats woes with Brown taking Twitter questions from worried fans.

1:15 - Andy Hart joins Early Edition to talk about the Patriots final two games against the Jets and Bills, and discusses if New England will be able to ride the momentum from those games into the playoffs.

6:20 - Al Horford will miss his sixth straight game on Wednesday vs the Suns. How concerning is this injury becoming? Kyle Draper and Chris Forsberg debate.

10:41 - Tom Giles sits down with Patriots Hall of Famer Troy Brown, who answers questions from fans on Twitter such as what a film session was like after a loss and what his first impression of Bill Belichick was.

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Former Patriots WR says there's "blood in the water" with New England right now

Former Patriots WR says there's "blood in the water" with New England right now

The Patriots have been the model of consistency in the Belichick/Brady era. 

Sixteen AFC East titles in 18 seasons. Sixteen seasons of 10+ wins. Eight consecutive first-round byes. Eight trips to the Super Bowl.

But New England has rarely been here, scuffling late in the season after two straight December losses and heading into Week 16 without a playoff berth already wrapped up.

Sure, it's a speed bump, but can they pull themselves out of the skid and right the ship? Earlier this week on The Ex-Pats Podcast, Rob Ninkovich voiced his doubts about where the team stands right now. And Tuesday night on "Boston Sports Tonight," another former Patriot echoed those thoughts.

"There is some blood in the water. They're wounded right now," Troy Brown explained. This team hasn't lost two straight in December since '02, so that's a long time for a team to be that consistent late in the year. You usually see this team not making the mistakes they've made the last couple of weeks. They're hitting their stride right about now and getting ready for that playoff push, and you just don't feel it, you don't see it.

"I'm pretty sure most of those teams out there now that are probably going to be competing in the playoffs are smelling some blood in the water. It's not gushing out right now, but it's a little paper cut."

Bill Belichick was questioned about the mental toughness of the 2018 Patriots on a conference call Tuesday, and though he said there's still time for this team to improve in that area, Brown said that's not a quick -- or easy -- fix.

"It just comes down to the personality of the players. That's the bottom line. If they can't fix that themselves, it's nothing you can coach into them. It's like [Belichick] said. He can't get them to play he wanted them to play in 2009; he probably can't do it now. So it just comes down to the players they have on the roster, and those guys wanting and figuring out how to get it done."

Here's the good news: The Patriots wrap up the season with home games against the Bills and Jets, two teams they've had a great deal of success against in the past, especially at home. A win Sunday would lock up the AFC East and guarantee at least one home playoff game, 

But here's the bad news: New England no longer controls its own destiny when it comes to a first-round bye, so the Patriots might have to go on the road for the Divisional Round and AFC Championship Game, and the road hasn't been friendly this season, with losses at Jacksonville, Detroit, Tennessee, Miami and Pittsburgh. Brown thinks that poor track record will likely spell a road loss in the postseason.

"If you're going to go to the casino and bet, then you're going to bet what you've seen so far. And what you've seen so far is a team that can't perform on the road. It's a different makeup. You watch these guys at home when they play - the amount of energy they bring to those games when they play at home, high-fiving, jumping up and down, chest bumping. And then when you go on the road, you see none of that."

Considering their track record, it would be foolish to bet against Brady, Belichick and the rest of the Patriots. But hearing numerous players who have been there and done that in their Foxboro tenures voice their concerns with where this team stands heading into the homestretch of a playoff run? That's pretty worrisome.

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