B's need more than Little Ball of Nothing out of Marchand

B's need more than Little Ball of Nothing out of Marchand
May 11, 2013, 10:45 am
Share This Post

It’s plainly simple that whatever Brad Marchand is providing for the Bruins right now isn’t good enough.

It’s not good enough for a player in Marchand that led the Bruins in goals scored during the regular season, and it’s not close to good enough for a key player the rest of his teammates are counting on in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Marchand was a complete no show for the Black and Gold in Friday night’s 2-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 5 at TD Garden, and he had zero shots and even less impact in 16:06 of invisible hockey. That makes it five straight playoff games for the Bruins against the Maple Leafs that Marchand has gone without lighting the lamp. Linemate Tyler Seguin is right there with him in the “no goals” department, but it should be mentioned, though, that Seguin was physically engaged and created a few scoring chances within six shots on net.

Neither player has been close to the top of their game in the series, but Marchand has appeared lost over the last two weeks after looking so good for so much of this season.

The only notable moments for Marchand in the series were getting speared in “the privates” by James van Riemsdyk in Game 1, and getting into a verbal joust with the laconic Phil Kessel during Boston’s Game 3 win over the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.

In essence it’s been a lot of talk, and little action from Marchand when it’s usually a whole lot of both.  

Marchand has 13 shots on net in five playoff games against the Leafs, and Seguin has nearly double with 24 shots landed on net. But neither player has kicked in with a goal in the series, and has left Patrice Bergeron’s power play goal in Game 4 ranking as their forward group’s only goal of the series.

“We’ve got to find a way. We can’t just be frustrated,” said Patrice Bergeron, who had six shots on net and won 12-of-18 face-offs in 19:46 of ice time in Game. “We’ve got to go out there and do it for our team.”

Marchand created very little, and didn’t look like the energetic Nose Face Killah that gets under the skin of opponents and acts as a puck magician with Velcro on his stick against unwitting opponents. That guy never entered the TD Garden building on Friday night against Toronto, and he knows it.

“You want to contribute every night, but that’s not how it works,” said Marchand. “Even if you’re not scoring you have to do other things well. I got to do something to turn that around and get on the scoreboard.

“I think maybe [I need to] just keep things simple and shoot everything at the net. Don’t try and to do much with it, not trying to make too many plays, just trying to take everything to the net.”

Dating back to last season, Marchand now has just one goal and is a minus-1 in his last 12 Stanley Cup playoff games while struggling to be the same guy that helped Boston win the Cup two years ago. It certainly looks like he’s dragging his other two linemates down when they account for 12 shots in Game 5, and Marchand has few hits, zero shots and few skirmishes with the Leafs in a game that felt completely devoid of the emotion needed for a playoff win.

The Bruins agitator really hasn’t been all that great since coming back from a concussion suffered on a flying elbow from New Jersey defenseman Anton Volchenkov on April 8, and has just two goals and five points along with a plus-1 rating in 12 games since coming back into the lineup. No one is suggesting that Marchand is still concussed, but he does seem to be playing tentative hockey since that point without the same strength and fearlessness on the puck.

It’s been plainly obvious that entire forward line needs to be better and more productive from the first game of the series. Now it’s vital as things appear to be cooling down for David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton after a torrid opening to the series against the Maple Leafs.

Simply put, playoff teams don’t win many games when their best players don’t play that way. Marchand and Co. have been from that, and it’s time to take stock and start righting the ship before they’re forced to lament leaving the Stanley Cup playoff dance much earlier than they expected.

“They know we [need them]. That has to come for us to be successful starting next game. It’s something that’s called accountability and we have to have more of that from that line as far as being a difference maker or at least something positive,” said Claude Julien. “They’ve got to give us – I thought the [Chris] Kelly line tonight was really good. [David] Krejci’s line has carried us, obviously the [Gregory] Campbell line has done their job. If we could get those guys going, it would really help our team a lot.”

Getting Marchand, Seguin and Bergeron going offensively won’t just help the Bruins a lot. It’s got to be a mandatory goal for everybody else on the team because advancing to the next round could be in question if those three can’t find ways to produce offensively, and some of that will start with Marchand getting back in touch with the Little Ball of Hate that scored 18 goals and 36 points for Boston in the shortened season.

Right now he’s the Little Ball of Nothing, and the Bruins will be right there with him if that continues for too much longer.