By Joe Haggerty
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.