To preview Game 2 between the Bruins and Capitals (Monday at 7:30 ET in Washington), we play a game of 2-on-2 with ESPN Boston's James Murphy and Joe McDonald:
1. Has Bruins forward Brad Marchand lost his edge and become overly focused on being a scorer?
Murphy: Based on the first two games of this series and even the stretch run, I would say Marchand has definitely changed his approach to the game. Yes, he netted 28 goals and had 55 points in the regular season, but when it comes to playoff hockey, the Bruins need the pesky and aggravating Marchand we saw break out in the Cup run last year. Finesse and scoring helps for sure, but the majority of his 11 goals in the 2011 playoffs came from hard work, nastiness and grit. If Marchand wants to start lighting the lamp more, that's what he needs to bring. Time for Marchand to be Marchand.
McDonald: It’s impossible for a player like Brad Marchand to lose his edge. He’s played that style of hockey his entire career and proved how effective he can be during the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs when he registered 11 goals, eight assists, 19 points and 40 penalty minutes in 25 games. He didn’t seem like himself in the first two games of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Capitals on Thursday and Saturday in Boston, but now the Bruins are on the road. Marchand thrives in hostile territory. Expect a couple of big games from him in Washington. CLICK HERE to read more on why the Bruins need Marchand to step up.
2. Is all the talk about last year's Stanley Cup championship serving as a detriment to the Bruins?
Murphy: It's one thing to thrive off of experience and it's great that the Bruins know what it takes to survive and win in the Stanley Cup playoffs. But whether they admit it or not, there were plenty of occasions where they seemed to rely on that too much and not live in the present. I am not saying the Bruins should throw away all they learned, but it's time they use the past to adapt to the present and not expect it to cure the present.
McDonald: I think all the talk about the defending Stanley Cup champions is external and not necessarily a focus behind closed doors. I'm confident the Bruins will build on their experience from a season ago, regroup, find their complete game and still win this series.