Bruins notes: Marchand benched in final period

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Bruins notes: Marchand benched in final period

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

UNIONDALE, N.Y. Brad Marchand has always played on the edge throughout his hockey career, and sometimes he takes a step or two over that line.

Marchand has potted 19 goals this season and impressed one and all in his rookie season with the Bruins, but that didnt stop Bruins coach Claude Julien from benching his hard-nosed rookie in the third period of Friday nights 4-2 loss to the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

One night after Marchand took a tripping penalty in the third period of a loss to the Sabres that led to a game-tying goal on a 5-on-3 advantage, Marchand took an interference penalty when he threw a hip check on Josh Bailey at the end of the second period.

The hit came after Johnny Boychuk had fired a clear attempt around the offensive zone, and Marchand mistimed when the puck was speeding through Baileys area of the ice. Marchand was whistled off for the infraction and Matt Moulson scored the Isles first goal of the night to make it a 2-1 game with only two seconds remaining in the second period.

With key penalties taken in two straight games over two straight nights, Julien didnt call Marchands number once in the third period and the spark plug winger finished with only 9:52 of ice time his lowest total ice since a Jan. 3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Julien confirmed after the game that Marchand was fine physically, and the third period splinter-fest was all about the coachs decision.

It was a coachs decision on that. Last nights penalty put us down 5-on-3 and tonighthe knows better than that. We dont want those kinds of habits to develop in his game because hes been really good for us this year.

But hes playing really frustrated right now and hes been taking some penalties. I just didnt really feel like he was going to help us in the third with the way he was playing.

Claude Julien said the Bruins have put together three different power play units to start sparking some competition and results from the different combinations, and the Bs finally broke an 0-for-21 slump with a Zdeno Chara blast in the second period.

The PP still isnt anywhere close to the dangerous special teams unit it could be, but Julien thinks hes starting to see some slight improvement.

We kind of put three power plays together line-wise the other day, and when we were practicing it the other day we scored four goals, said Julien. They seemed to be moving it around pretty well, and sometimes you need a little more grit than skill. Sometimes you like to see some pretty competition on those teams. Kelly will work hard and Rex will get to the front of the net, so you hope that Ryder can get the shot off. Were just looking for the right combination thats going to work.

A CNN news crew was escorted out of the Bruins dressing room during the postgame scrums when they attempted to question Zdeno Chara about the potential for Air Canada to pull their advertising dollars out of the NHL. Chara was roundly booed each time he touched the puck at the Nassau Coliseum after the ugly incident with Max Pacioretty at the Bell Centre last week. "Every time I got booed, I got cheered by Boston fans. So I'm kind of used to it," Chara said. "It doesn't bother me. It's part of the game. Fans have the right to express opinions toward different players. It's part of the game, part of hockey. Fans have the right to cheer for the home team and against the visiting."

Andrew Ference is expected to practice with the Bruins on Sunday for the first time in weeks, and could potentially return to the lineup Tuesday night in Columbus against the Blue Jackets.

Steve Kampfer rode the exercise bike for roughly 15 minutes on Friday with no symptoms from his recent concussion, and appears to have a step forward in his recovery from the head injury.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Liles remains in lineup for Bruins, Colin Miller stays a healthy scratch

Liles remains in lineup for Bruins, Colin Miller stays a healthy scratch

BRIGHTON, Mass – It had been more than a month since John-Michael Liles had jumped into a game for the Bruins, so the 36-year-old kept it simple on Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators.

Liles finished with a plus-1 rating and a couple of shots on net in 13-plus minutes of ice time and was part of a Bruins defense that blocked a whopping 25 shots in the tight, defensively sound victory. He was also just understandably excited to be back to playing with so much on the line this late in the regular season.

“I’ve been in situations like this before, so I was just trying to stick to my game and play to my strengths,” said Liles, who has five assists in 32 games this season. “It did feel like a playoff game a bit and you get to this time of year where every point is crucial for us as well as [the other teams]. It can be challenging when you haven’t played together with somebody for a while [as a pairing], but when you keep it simple that makes it easier. As long as you talk on the ice it will work, and I think [Kevan Miller] and I have done okay with that in different situations.”

On the flip side, the 24-year-old Colin Miller will sit for the second consecutive game tonight against the Dallas Stars in favor of Liles after playing a low 11:50 of ice time in the win over the Islanders last weekend. The skilled, puck-moving Miller has two points and a plus-2 rating in 12 games in March, but clearly something isn’t good enough with Bruce Cassidy opting for Liles over Miller as of late.

“I think [Liles] has worked hard to stay in good condition and stay sharp if he got in the lineup, so we’re going to give him another chance. It’s one of those gut instincts this time of year, and [Dallas] is a good matchup for him,” said Cassidy. Miller has five goals and 12 points in 58 games for the B’s in his second NHL season. “[Miller] is young, but he’s not Brandon Carlo-young. He’s been a pro for three or four years. It’s him understanding the consistency, every-night factor or playing to his strengths and what we want out of him, and balancing that with what [Liles] did for us the other night.

“This time of year you always want young players to face these moments and play through them, but you also have to balance your lineup if you feel a veteran guy gives you a better shot to win. We’re looking at both of those things. Either way you hope that when Colin Miller gets back in that he’s better off for it, and not worse off. That’s the plan. In the meantime [Liles] gives us good, solid minutes.”

One final thing that could also be going on a bit in the background: The Bruins possibly paving the way for Charlie McAvoy to get an look at the NHL level next week and giving themselves some options of where to play him if he thoroughly dominates in Providence this weekend.

A third pairing of Liles-McAvoy would give the Bruins a much different, much more mobile look if that transpired and knocking some of the rust off Liles makes that a possibility if/when McAvoy gets an NHL cup of coffee.  

Thursday, March 30: Maybe they should rename it the Bergeron Trophy?

Thursday, March 30: Maybe they should rename it the Bergeron Trophy?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while really enjoying Matthew Tkachuk’s first go-round in the NHL. He may not have grown up here, but he’s definitely got some Masshole in his game.

*The five major contenders for the Selke Trophy include this one guy that wears Black and Gold and might have won the thing a couple of times. I’ll give you three guesses who that is.

*The 25-year run of the Detroit Red Wings in the playoffs has come to a close, and it’s probably the right time for them to reevaluate things.

*A Flames/Kings game turned into an on-ice rumble of sorts with Matthew Tkachuk involved in all kinds of action after his previous elbow of Drew Doughty.

*Speaking of the Flames/Kings, here’s Brian Burke with an After Hours-looking segment talking about the rough stuff during Flames/Kings.

*David Clarkson is finding his hockey life after the NHL with a high school coaching gig in Ohio not far from the Blue Jackets’ home rink.

*If it’s truly his last hockey game in Calgary, Jarome Iginla made it one to remember squaring off against his old Flames team.

*For something completely different: There’s been some smoke about the Expos returning to Montreal, but no fire as yet on the reports.