Hits & Misses: Marchand reappears

Hits & Misses: Marchand reappears
December 20, 2013, 1:45 am
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Here are a few hits and misses from the Bruins' 4-2 loss to the Sabres on Thursday night at the First Niagara Center:

*Brad Marchand looked like himself for one of the first times this season. He scored a pair of goals, had a season-high five shots on net, generated eight shot attempts and actually showed old-fashioned blue collar work ethic to get to the front of the net, and skate north/south rather than all of the circles and pirouettes that bring his simple game down. The goals were both excellent efforts with the first coming on a partial breakaway that beat Ryan Miller’s glove hand.

*Patrice Bergeron exerted his typically excellent game with an assist on Brad Marchand’s second goal, had 17:36 of ice time and blocked a pair of shots while winning 14-of-22 faceoffs. The Marchand/Bergeron/Smith line finished with eight shots on net and certainly stepped things up.

*The Bruins held the lowly Buffalo power play to an 0-for-4 performance as they continually rise to the occasion on special teams, but they also went 0-for-2 themselves in a special teams case.

*David Warsofsky looked perfectly good in his 12 plus minutes of ice time, and was on the ice for one goal against. But his instincts and knowledge are clear assets for the Bruins, and the rookie blue liner from Waltham certainly didn’t look out of place in his first game.

*Good self-control for Milan Lucic in the first period when Mike Weber grabbed him and put him in a big bear hug and then tried to engage him in a fight. Lucic was probably steaming after returning from an assault in Vancouver, but he never dropped his gloves or landed a punch on Weber.

*Claude Julien has been dogged over the last few days by the stomach bug that plagued his hockey team, and he still showed up behind the bench at game time.

*B’s backup goaltender Chad Johnson needs to hold the post on the Drew Stafford wraparound attempt in the third period, and his mistake allowed the winning goal scored late in the game. Johnson is 6-2-0 on the season, and it will be interesting to see how he responds to a poor effort. The Bruins can’t outshoot a team by a 15-5 margin in the final period, and cough up a pair of goals to lose the game.

*Ryan Spooner, Matt Fraser, Nick Johnson, Jordan Caron and Carl Soderberg are doing the best they can as bottom six forwards, but they made very little impact against the Sabres on Thursday night. They finished with only eight shots on net, and were a combined minus-8 rating vs. Buffalo. That group will get a couple more chances, but they really need to start putting up some points in these games as the other players get tired from carrying the team.

*Johnny Boychuk couldn’t hold a puck in the offensive zone on Boston’s first power play chance, and that indirectly led to Brian Flynn’s shorthanded goal. The defenseman hasn’t gathered much power play time over the last couple of years, and Dougie Hamilton has really bit into my column.

*One shot in 15:08 of ice time for Reilly Smith, who wasn’t noticeable even once in the game after a few excellent offensive efforts.