Marchand provides finishing touch in Game 5


Marchand provides finishing touch in Game 5

By DannyPicard

BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; Patrice Bergeron made a great play. Its what he does.

A little hesitation from the corner allowed Brad Marchandto beat his man out front, and Bergeron put a hard pass through the slot on thetape of Marchands stick. Its the type of reliable play that Bergeron makes all the time. But that doesnt mean its always a play thats finished.

Marchand had 21 goals in the regular season. He had fiveplayoff goals entering Monday nights Game 5 againstthe Tampa Bay Lightning. As a rookie, hes shown that he has exactly what ittakes to be an impact player, especially on a line with Bergeron.

And far too often in recent years the Bruins have seentheir forwards not have enough finish. Theyve had brilliant playmakers, inBergeron, Marc Savard, and David Krejci. But finding a guy to finish what theseplaymakers start hasnt been easy.

By beating Martin St. Louis to open space at the left post,and fighting off St. Louis stick-lift attempt out front, Marchand was able tobury Bergerons picture-perfect feed out front with 4:04 left in the secondperiod, giving the Bruins a 2-1 lead that they never relinquished en route to a 3-1 victory and a 3-2 series lead.

I know our team, even as a whole, when you look at the gameitself, it wasnt our best game, said Bruins coach Claude Julien. But youknow, sometimes, its about finding ways to win. And thats what we didtonight.

Marchand has helped this Bruins team find ways to win, timeand time again this season. Hes the type of gritty forward who provides somefinish who thrives in playoff hockey.

And even though he hadnt put up a single point in the firstfour games of the Eastern Conference finals, Marchand put it away when itcounted most, helping give the Bruins an edge ina series that was previously tied at 2-2.

Its been a frustrating series, said Marchand. Its beena battle every night. Zdeno Chara made a great play down to Bergy there, and I justwent to the net with my stick on the ice. I didnt even see it coming. I justkept hard on my stick. I knew Bergy was coming to me. He made an unbelievablepass, and I just put it into the open net.

Hes a young player, hes a first-year player, saidJulien. His intentions are so good, that sometimes, when things dont go hisway, he has a tendency to get a little frustrated. And the minute I saw himget frustrated, in the first period, I had a talk with him, told him to settledown and stay positive, and things would work out.

But I really feel that that goal really helped him settledown, and he was a better player afterwards.

Ask around the room, and theyll tell you. Marchand is morethan just a difference-maker. Hes the type of player that Bruins fans havewatched over the years on other teams in the playoffs, and have asked, Whycant we get guys like that?

That guy drove hardto the net and finished when the Bruins needed a goal. And as a result, the Bruins are one win away from advancing tothe Stanley Cup Finals.

Even looking at the replay, Marchand had a guy on him, andhe was really strong on his stick, said Milan Lucic. He even said he didntsee it. But he knew that the puck was going to get on his stick, and thatsjust the chemistry that Marchand and Bergeron have created this year.

Marchand obviously hasnt had the greatest start to thisseries, but hes a great player for us, and hes been a great player for us allseason long. Its just him stepping up and making a big play at a key time.

Danny Picard is onTwitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Bruins blast Kings 4-1, continue strong start for Cassidy


Bruins blast Kings 4-1, continue strong start for Cassidy

LOS ANGELES - Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak scored their 26th goals of the season, and the Boston Bruins improved to 5-1-0 under interim coach Bruce Cassidy with a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.

Anton Khudobin made 27 saves in his second start since Christmas for the Bruins, who nursed an early lead to their first win in Los Angeles since March 24, 2012.

Pastrnak punctuated a strong all-around game with his seventh power-play goal of the season early in the second period. Dominic Moore ended his 26-game goal drought with an empty-net score, and David Krejci added another empty-netter with 7.2 seconds left.

Kevin Gravel scored his first NHL goal and Peter Budaj stopped 21 shots for the Kings, who have lost six of eight.

Thursday, Feb. 23: Eaves and Chewbacca? Now that's hair-raising

Thursday, Feb. 23: Eaves and Chewbacca? Now that's hair-raising

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while amazed, and alarmed, at any politician that would ever duck a town hall-style meeting with their constituents.

*Patrick Eaves had a close encounter of the hairy kind with the mighty Chewbacca during a recent visit to Disney. Let’s just say Eaves, Brent Burns and Chewie could all be from the same family tree.

*Good, long read on junior hockey scoring star Alex Debrincat, who Bruins fans will remember that Boston passed over to draft Trent Frederic at the end of the first round last summer. He’s scoring at the kind of levels that say he might be something special at the next level. Just saying.

*Wayne Gretzky jumps on the Florida Panthers telecast to chat about Jaromir Jagr, and jokes about what he’ll do if Jagr ever gets close to his NHL all-time scoring title.

*Pierre Lebrun has a list of NHL defensemen that are in demand ahead of the trade deadline, and it’s a fairly underwhelming list aside from Kevin Shattenkirk.

*If you’re looking for some good Blackhawks talk then you should check out the Blackhawks Talk podcast over at CSN Chicago.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bob McKenzie dropped into the NBCSN studios again this past week to chat about the NHL tweaking the bye weeks moving forward after watching them play out this season.

*People getting concerned about turning budding personal NHL rivalries into another “Ovechkin vs. Crosby” is perhaps the dumbest NHL hot take I’ve ever heard. The Ovechkin/Crosby rivalry was perfectly good and anything to draw attention to the NHL and its players is also good. This is the kind of thing said by somebody that I’m sure gets more super-excited by a bar graph showing a player’s effectiveness rather than watching what they’re actually doing on the ice.

*For something completely different: A really interesting look from a random date that Carrie Fisher took to the 1978 Oscars while palling around with the young, new stars of Hollywood.