Marchand heating up offensively for Bruins

Marchand heating up offensively for Bruins

ST LOUIS -- The Bruins are a different offensive team when Brad Marchand is hitting the high notes offensively, and he’s been back to that level in the last few games for a Black and Gold group starting to score more goals.

Marchand potted a pair of goals in the Bruins 5-3 win over the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center on Tuesday night, and perhaps did it in celebration of also being named an NHL All-Star for the first time on the very same day. Instead it’s more about Marchand hitting a hot stretch on offense as he’s been known to do over the years while doing yeoman’s work for the Bruins goal-scoring ambitions. Marchand now has five goals and seven points in his last four games, and is burying the chances that seemed to be just missing over the last couple of months this season.

Chances like the sniper strike at the end of the first period as a trailer when David Pastrnak found Marchand wide going to the net, and the nifty empty net backhander late in the third period that he simply threw at the net. Different goals to be sure, but evidence that confidence is starting to come back for an elite offensive player like Marchand.

“I think it’s just an example of what our team does when everybody is going and everybody is playing well,” said Marchand, who has 15 goals and a team-leading 38 points on the season in 43 games. “We get a lot of opportunities, and we had opportunities to score even more goals than that tonight. When we play fast and we play hard against other teams we get our chances, and luckily they’re starting to go in.

“But we knew all year that if we continued to push and continued to get opportunities that they would start to go in. You can’t get the [scoring] opportunities that we get every game and not have them ever go in the net.”

The Bruins have scored 30 goals in their last 10 games for an excellent three goals per game average, and the power play has gone 8-for-33 over that span for a 24.2 percent success rate. Those numbers are way up from where they’d been most of the first half this season for the Black and Gold, and Claude Julien thinks players like Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and others rounding into form is the exact reason behind it.

“We all know that when [Marchand] scores it helps a lot,” said Claude Julien. “He was a 37 goal scorer last year and I knew at some point things were going to turn around for him. The same with [Patrice Bergeron]. He’s getting good looks and he’s getting shots on net, and I think his point production is really going to come around as well. This is what we need. We can look in the past or we can build on what we’re doing now, and [the latter] is what we choose to do.”

The Bruins just have to hope that it keeps building upward for Marchand and others as it looks like they’re finally hitting their offensive stride. 

Bruins lay an egg in 4-0 shutout loss to Islanders

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Bruins lay an egg in 4-0 shutout loss to Islanders

BOSTON -- The Bruins were due for an embarrassing no-show against a bad team after playing some pretty good hockey over the last two weeks, and it arrived on cue versus -- once again -- the New York Islanders. 

A dreadful second period by Boston allowed the Isles to coast to a 4-0 win at TD Garden Monday afternoon, giving the Metro Division's worst team its second regulation victory over the Bruins in two months. If the B's miss the playoffs by four points or less, they can look at both defeats as big reasons why they didn’t end up making the cut. 

After a scoreless first period, the Islanders broke down the B’s defense for the game's first goal. The Adam McQuaid/Torey Krug pairing was caught behind the net and David Krejci was late covering the slot as Casey Cizikas set up Nikolay Kulemin for the first of his two goals on the afternoon. 

Less than two minutes later the Islanders doubled their lead when Josh Bailey was able to sneak a bad-angle shot past Tuukka Rask to the short side. Three minutes after that, a high-risk Joe Morrow play at the offensive blue line turned into an odd-man rush for the Islanders and once again Cizikas fed Kulemin from behind the net for a goal that upped the Isles' lead to 3-0. Bruins fans serenaded the B’s players with boos as they exited for the second intermission. 

Rask was pulled after allowing three goals on 15 shots through the first 40 minutes, but that did nothing to give Boston any energy. Jason Chimera capped off the B’s bag of stink with a shorthanded Islanders goal in the third period with little resistance from a trailing group of Bruins turning in a flat performance.