Marchand quietly takes team lead in goals


Marchand quietly takes team lead in goals

BOSTON -- After a defensive nightmare like Thursday night at the TD Garden, there weren't many Bruins players or coaches leaving the building throwing praise Brad Marchand's way.
Nothing against "Marchy," but his two goals in a 7-4 loss weren't really at the forefront of postgame discussion.
But when the B's wake up on Friday, they're all going to realize something.
Marchand is the team's lone leading goal scorer.
On a normal, defensive-minded night in which Bruins defensmen are picking up loose bodies out front instead of allowing odd-man rushes that see wide-open wingers tee-off on cross-ice one-timers, four goals for the B's is more than enough to walk away with two points.
And had they played that normal defensive-minded style that Boston is accustomed to seeing on Thursday night, the Bruins would still be undefeated in regulation through seven games to begin the season. And in that case, Marchand would be the talk of the town.
"I thought offensively we did a good job," said Bruins coach Claude Julien after the loss. "We had lots of chances. We scored four goals."
Two of those goals came off the stick of Marchand. And they were big ones at the time.
Just two-and-a-half minutes after Rich Peverley tied the game at 1-1 in the second period, Marchand gave the Bruins their first lead of the game on a play that was initially created by Patrice Bergeron, who caused a Buffalo turnover in the neutral zone.
Bergeron skated around to gain momentum and avoid Sabres players while the Bruins finished off a successful penalty kill. He then threw a pass to Marchand, who was standing at the left blue line. Marchand took the pass, entered the Sabres' zone, and toasted Tyler Myers wide down the left boards until he got to the bottom of the left circle.
From there, Marchand cut hard out front, pulled a toe drag on Jordan Leopold, and backhanded the puck past Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, who seemed somewhat confused as to how Marchand got all the way from the left point to the right side of the crease without being touched by the two Buffalo defensemen in front of him.
"I got it at the blue line and I went in and saw a little room in front," said Marchand afterwards, who remained humble about his two goals on Thursday. "I just cut in and the goalie was out of place, so I just put it in."
After giving the Bruins a 2-1 lead, Marchand added another just three minutes later, making it 3-1 on a shot from the high slot that was once again set up by Bergeron, who fed Marchand the pass with which he shot low and beat a screened Miller.
"Seguin did a great job there, and that's where he's developing in his game," said Marchand. "He's working in all areas of the ice. He's battling a lot harder. He's in the corner, he's in front of the net, and that's what we need out of him."
Seguin's screen was nice. But realistically, the Bruins need the kid to put the puck in the net, like Marchand did on Thursday night.
So as Seguin sits there with only one goal (an empty-netter), Marchand leads the team with five, and that's not even counting his game-winning goal in the sixth round on Tuesday night against the New Jersey Devils.
Had the result been different, Marchand would be the hero. Instead, he's just the lone guy who leads the 5-1-1 Bruins in goals scored.
They'll realize it on Friday.

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

BOSTON -- Malcolm Subban still believes he can be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.

While that sort of sheer, brazen self-confidence is admirable -- especially after getting yanked from a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden Tuesday -- pretty much all the evidence points to the contrary. Given a shot because of injuries to Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin, nearly two years after getting pulled from his only other NHL appearance when he gave up three goals on six shots in St. Louis, Subban was taken out Tuesday night after allowing three goals on eight second-period shots.

He maintained a defiantly confident tone afterwards, a testament to his maturity and mental toughness.

“It sucks," said Subban, who has now allowed six goals on 22 career shots faced in two starts. “Obviously, I’m just trying to finish the game, let alone win one . . . but what can you do now, right?

"Obviously I want to be a No. 1 goaltender in the league. I was a [first-round draft choice] for a reason. I have the potential, and I just have to show it. Obviously I haven’t done that so far yet, but I think I’m getting closer to it. Honestly, I think I can do it right now. I just got to show it . . . I didn’t [do it] today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Given the stunningly bad quality of his two NHL starts, combined with a thoroughly pedestrian body of work at the AHL level over the last three years, there is literally zero evidence Subban is tracking to be a franchise goaltender. Meanwhile, a sizeable selection of goaltenders taken after him in the 2012 NHL Draft have proven their worth and advanced to the elite level: Matt Murray. Frederik Anderson. Connor Hellebuyck. Joonas Korpisalo.

Subban was hoping all along to break through this season in Boston, but things went south on him quickly Tuesday in his first chance to do so.

Hampered by a Bruins team not playing well in front of him, the first goal he allowed was a fluttering Charlie Coyle shot that trickled between his glove hand and the top of his leg pad. The third was a softie low and to the glove side, a power-play strike authored by Ryan Suter. Instead of hanging in and giving his team a chance to win, Subban helped put the Bruins in a hole they couldn't escape.

While Claude Julien felt the poor performance "could be a combination" of goaltending and overall defensive lapses, he didn't let Subban off the hook.

“There are some goals -- I’m not going to lie -- there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had," said the coach.

But he also wasn't going to place the blame solely at Subban's feet.

"[I’m] not here to talk about a goaltender -- who’s in one of his first few games -- because he let in a couple of bad goals,” said Julien. “We were terrible in front of him . . .  and that’s the big picture. That’s more important.

“I don’t care who’s in net. I think when you have some injuries you need to be better in those situations and we weren’t good enough tonight. It doesn’t matter if Tuukka is in net and we had injuries up front, or we’re lacking players here or there. You’ve got to let the system take care of the game. If you play it the right way, you have a chance to win. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s what happened [against Minnesota].”

There’s no question the defense in front of Subban wasn’t nearly good enough. Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug in particular struggled to lock things down in the defensive zone. The wide-open shots from the slot -- like the Chris Stewart score in the second period 12 seconds after Minnesota’s opening goal -- are indicative of a hockey club that’s not sticking to the game plan once things start to get a little wonky.

But this is about a player (Subban) who should be entering the NHL stage of his career after being a first-round pick in 2012. Anybody would be hard-pressed to see him as an NHL goalie after his two Bruins appearances. Combine that with the lack of dominance at the AHL level over the last three years, and there’s a better chance that Subban will be a major first-round bust rather than a late-blooming No. 1 goaltender.

The scary part is that Subban and fellow young netminder Zane McIntyre are all the Bruins have for Wednesday night’s game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps longer if Rask can’t make a rapid recovery from his lower body injury.

Maybe Subban can be a bit better than he’s shown thus far, and, to be fair, the three goals allowed to Minnesota weren't all his fault. The bottom line, however, is that he should be up for doing this job right now. Tuesday was a big chance for the young goalie to make a statement that he was ready for it.

Instead he looked like the same goalie who'd been pulled from two of his first four AHL starts this season, one who's never going to truly be ready for the call in Boston.