Gigantic game from Brad Marchand helps Bruins even series
Brad Marchand can be a complicated player. If you are not a Bruins fan or player, you probably can not stand him.
If you are a Bruins fan or player, you might get annoyed at times when he forgets where the line is in his quest to be a pest and does something to take himself out of the lineup or off the ice. Because it happens a lot.
But man, when he is at his best, puts all of his talents to good use, and is able to stay on the right side of the line and send somebody else over it? There are not many players in the NHL that are more impactful than him.
The Boston Bruins got that version of Marchand on Sunday afternoon in their 5-2 win to even their First Round series with the Carolina Hurricanes at two games apiece.
Marchand factored into all five Boston goals -- scoring two and assisting on three more -- played his usualy outstanding two-way game, and drove Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo to madness, ending with a stick throw across the ice as Marchand iced the game away with an empty-net goal.
Just a dominant all-around game from Marchand, and it could not have come at a better time for the Bruins.
Given the way this series started it seemed hard to believe they were going to be able to come back in this series. Carolina had won the first five head-to-head games this season, had a laughably lopsided goals edge, and seemed to be in complete control of the series. Then Boston lost Hampus Lindholm early in the series, and then entered Game 4 dealing with the unexpected absence of Charlie McAvoy, and the odds seemed to be stacked against them.
But Boston reunited its top line of Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak and watched them run wild on Sunday afternoon to help make up for an undermanned defense to fight back and even the series.
That line played just seven minutes of 5-on-5 hockey together on Sunday, but during those minutes they held a 7-1 shot attempt advantage and outscored Carolina by a 2-0 margin. They were also on the ice for two power play goals and the empty-net goal at the end.
Now just like that we have a new series on our hands as it moves back to Carolina for Game 5 on Tuesday.
The Bruins have to feel rejuvenated now that they have been able to finally solve the Hurricanes, and will hopefully at some point be getting their top two defenders back in the lineup. On the other side it has to feel like a massive missed opportunity for Carolina to win the first two games of the series, be facing an undermanned defense, and not be able to take advantage of it.