BUFFALO Brad Marchand is one of those players who denies conventional wisdom when it comes to missing time.
The Bruins agitator has impressed through the first three weeks of the season while becoming their leading goal-scorer with six strikes on the season despite staying idle for four months during the NHL lockout. Marchand skated sporadically over the four months, but also spent plenty of time moose-hunting with his father back in their native Nova Scotia as well.
But whenever Marchand did come back to the Boston area to skate with the other locked out NHL players, he was routinely the best player on the ice even if he hadnt skated in a week or two. The other guys would shrug their shoulders and simply say that Marchand was just one of those guys that could simply pick things up again quickly even if hed missed some time.
Its always great to have him on my side. He always finds a way to get himself involved and to get his teammates going, said Bergeron. Hes always a guy thats first on the puck and hell always be the guy puck-hunting in the corner and the first guy coming out with the stuff.
So it should surprise no one that the 24-year-old Marchand scored Bostons first goal of a 3-1 win over the Sabres after missing more than a week of game action while nursing a shoulder injury suffered last weekend.
Its always tough be watching and not able to help your team win games, said Marchand. Its nice that they can win without me, but its also nice to get right back out there. At this level everybody is prepared every day to play. When youre sitting out with an injury its almost more difficult because theyre pushing you hard to get you back in the lineup.
The trainers did a great job with that and Ive felt very good since Ive been out there.
The Nose Face Killah was simply doing his job when a scoring opportunity presented itself, and he pounced on it like a wild honey badger.
Marchand had fired himself up only a shift or two prior by getting into a battle of face-washes with Buffalo agitator Steve Ott, so he couldnt wait to get back on the ice. Marchand took a puck from inside the left face-off circle and squeezed off a shot that was partially screened by Nathan Horton and Robyn Refer battling in front of the Buffalo cage.
The sniper shot beat Ryan Miller to the glove hand side, and Marchand immediately turned around and gave a Shhh! sign to the Buffalo bench with his gloved finger up to his mouth. The Bruins agitator said his post-goal actions werent directed at any one player in particular, but instead Marchand said it was for everyone on the Buffalo bench that had been chirping him throughout the game.
Its all mounting evidence that Marchand is 100 percent healthy after it looked like he would be a healthy scratch on Sunday night: He was talking smack, scoring goals and seemingly in the middle of everything.