Marchand continues to carry Bruins offense

Marchand continues to carry Bruins offense
January 20, 2014, 9:45 pm
Share This Post

BOSTON – On Sunday Claude Julien said “it was nice to have [Brad Marchand] back.”

On Monday Julien was overjoyed, ecstatic and blissful to have Marchand back as he put together his second straight two-goal game, and led the Bruins to a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings at TD Garden.

Marchand notched the game-winning one-timer in the third period just 18 seconds after the Kings had tied the game, and that was the final nail in the coffin for Los Angeles. But the B’s agitator had paved the way for victory early in the game when took a potential negative (a Los Angeles power play) and turned into the overwhelming positive of a shorthanded goal to break a scoreless stalemate.

It was Marchand’s sixth goal in his last four games, and his 12th goal in the last 18 games while shooting himself to the top of Boston’s scoring charts with 16 goals on the season.  

“That’s what confidence does to you," Julien said. "He’s been playing well. He’s feeling good about his game. When you feel good about yourself, you have more energy, right? That’s whether it’s in normal life, or as an athlete. I think right now he’s feeling good about his game and comes and plays with a lot of energy.

“He’s got great speed now, where I thought before he was playing at a slower pace. The confidence that his game is showing just by that shorthanded goal he scored: patience with the puck, no panic, and control of his emotions. He’s not letting anything throw him off his game right now.”

The timing was part of the goal’s importance, but the derring-do needed for Marchand to light the lamp was even more impressive. The Nose Face Killah attacked the net through four Kings’ players standing around the LA net, and put puck fakes on Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar before sliding the shot between Jonathan Quick’s leg pads.

That was Marchand singlehandedly beating LA’s three best players en route to his NHL-leading fourth shorthanded goal of the season.

“Early on [in the season] I tried to beat guys like that all the time, and it just didn’t work,” said Marchand. “[Today] was one of those times where it did and went my way, but those don’t happen often so definitely nice when they do.

“I think when bounces are going your way, you get more confidence. That’s all that it is.  Early on I didn’t really feel confident in anything that I was doing, and right now it seems to be there . . . hopefully it will continue.”

It almost came to a rough ending in the final minute of the game when Marchand had a clear chance at an empty net goal once Quick had been pulled from the net with the Bruins holding a one-goal lead. He threw a puck off the side boards with Jake Muzzin in front of him, and had the flat-footed Kings defenseman beaten as he began to skate around him. Muzzin kicked out his hip and took out Marchand’s right leg with a hit that didn’t injure the red-hot B’s left wing, but was dangerous nonetheless as the last act of a desperate defenseman.

“He’s trying to stop me from getting a breakaway there. I understand the situation,” said Marchand. “Obviously you don’t like it, but just thankfully I’m not hurt.”

Make that an entire Bruins team that’s thankful Marchand didn’t get hurt, as his offensive exploits have provided 50 percent of Boston’s offense (six of 12 goals) in the last four games.