Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Marchand once again the spark for Bruins
By Brendan Hall
BOSTON -- It should probably come as no surprise to learn that when the frenetic Brad Marchand finds the back of the net in these playoffs, the Bruins are 8-0, including Monday night’s 5-2 win to force a seventh game Wednesday night at Rogers Arena.
When the popular, high-energy winger is in high gear, so too are the Bruins. His pinpoint left-handed snipe on Roberto Luongo got the ball rolling tonight, the first of four goals in a span of 4:14 in the first period that left Vezina finalist Luongo riding the pine for the second time in this series.
Dennis Seidenberg started the play with a breakout pass up the right boards into the neutral zone, where Mark Recchi dished off to Marchand as he drove into the right circle and beat Luongo with a hard wrist shot, short side, over his shoulder that slipped just beneath the crossbar.
That gave the young winger a Bruins rookie record nine postseason goals, second on the team to David Krejci’s 11.
“I think I just kinda caught him off-guard,” Marchand said of the goal.
Said Krejci, “Marshy’s first goal was a great shot and it was pretty early. It gave us a little confidence. I think some of us got way looser, and we were making some plays.”
It was a typical playoff night for Marchand, as adept throughout this run at dangling on the rush as he has been at getting under the skin of opponents with Sean Avery-like antics before and after the whistle. In addition to four shots on goal and two hits, Marchand finished with 12 penalty minutes, courtesy of a scrum with Maxim Lapierre and Daniel Sedin (the latter, arguably, his archnemesis this series).
"He's a young kid that plays on the edge and sometimes the emotions get the best of him," Recchi said. "But when you're young, that's not a bad thing. I would rather have a kid like that than a kid that plays with no emotion. It's a big part of his game and he's learning. He's learning to corral it when he needs to and when we need a lift, he's learned to go out and do it. That's the sign of a smart, young player who wants to get better and better.
"You know, it was a huge goal he scored and he emotionally kept on driving for us. It's a great thing. He's such a good kid and it's nice to see him get rewarded but also play an intelligent game tonight. He still played with the edge, but it was on the right side of it."
Marchand is sure to be one of the unforgettable supporting characters when this chapter on the Bruins concludes, whether it’s for his grit and swagger in spite of his diminutive stature, or the borderline cult following (see: the Metallica-themed shirt bearing his name, sold outside the TD Garden; or the various jabs at his nose in the Twitter-sphere).
“He's a good energy player,” coach Claude Julien said. “Certainly that goal that he scored tonight was certainly a highlight reel goal. The shot that he took was an extremely accurate and hard shot from an off wing and that's the caliber of a Brad Marchand shot. Hopefully with more confidence you're going to see him use that even more.
“He's been a great, great player for us. For a first-year player, he's been great. When you look at how he's handling himself in the Stanley Cup finals, you certainly can't complain as a coach.”
Now, it’s time to take that frenetic energy on the road. And if it’s anything like the show that he’s been putting on at home, you have to like the spoked-B’s chances.
“Yeah, it’s going to be tough,” Marchand said. “You know, we seem to be able to build a ton of energy off our crowd. So we’re going to have to find some way to do it. And just, you know, use each other to get up and try to build some energy off that, and hopefully that’s enough.”