Haggerty: Marchand the brightest light in loss

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Haggerty: Marchand the brightest light in loss

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

BOSTON -- Its funny the way things work out sometimes.

Brad Marchand was probably the Bruin least expected to hurtle out of the starting gate firing on all cylinders, but the 23-year-old was the closest thing the Bs had to a good player in the 2-1 opening night loss to the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden on Thursday.

With hard work, the Marchand storyline has gone from hard-partying summer to hard-working summer with a solid first effort under his belt.

Marchand basically picked up where he left off last year by serving in two capacities: The last Bs player to score a goal during last years Stanley Cup Finals on an empty-netter in Game 7, and the first to score this season when he busted through in the first period.

It was during Bostons first power play of the night, as Tyler Seguin skipped a long stretch pass by a pair of defenders to free up Marchand behind the Flyers defense. Marchand did the rest, speeding toward the net and flipping a backhanded double-move past Ilya Bryzgalov to open the scoring.

He did . . . he did bring the energy, agreed coach Claude Julien. We had talked about everybody trying to find a way to bring some energy to our game and build some momentum. We wanted to get our fans into it and everything else.

Some guys like Marchand did a better job than others, but I thought we could have had some better results in regard to that. We needed to find a way to get ourselves into the game more, and rile up our fans as well. They could have been a big boost for us tonight. But we didnt do anything to excite them except for the first 10 minutes, when we missed the net I dont know how many times.

Unfortunately that was it for the net-missing Bruins, who surrendered two goals in the final minute of the first period and then couldnt finish any other chances through the final 40 minutes of an emotionally empty performance.

While Marchand should have been one of the few Bs players proud of his individual performance amid some pretty uninspired, mediocre hockey, the left wing was hard on himself for a few late mistakes while also readily admitting the impressive banner-raising might have sucked the life out of the team. So many players had high energy for the first 10 minutes and lost it as the game unfolded, and thats consistent with a team that peaked before the opening puck was dropped.

It was a great ceremony before the game, but you know it was a tough finish tonight, said Marchand. I thought we had a good start. We got an early goal there and then we kind of let our guard down a little bit, and they took over. We just have to regroup and bounce back.

We were still trying to get back into things there, but Bryzgalov made a few big saves that really kept them in the game. We do have to capitalize on our opportunities. We had a lot of chances there in the first where we missed the net. It doesn't even count as a scoring chance, so we do have to be better in that area. But that will come with time.

The good news: Marchand is a key player for the Bruins in a season dedicated to repeating as Stanley Cup champs, and his three shots on net and goal scored were an excellent start. It could have been a very different result for the pugnacious winger and the Bs, too, if the diminutive forward could have connected on a backhanded set up from David Krejci in the second period. But Marchand didnt get good enough wood on the backhand as he barreled down the slot area toward the net, and that allowed Bryzgalov to make a flashy glove save that damped Bostons spirits.

While the Bruins were largely the same cast of the characters, the Flyers were new and improved with a goaltender who can actually execute a high degree of difficulty save or two with the game on the line. Perhaps recognizing that the Bruins were facing an uphill emotional battle Marchand attempted to pester Philly golden boy James van Riemsdyk into some kind of hockey skirmish, but the Flyers forward wisely skipped any on-ice high jinks.

Unfortunately for Marchand and the Bruins, a goal, a little goading and a few good chances gone unfinished werent enough to make it a happy ending for the first banner-raising ceremony on the Garden ice in nearly four decades.

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

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while digging the Spider-Man trailer that dropped last night. 

*John Scott has finally called it a day and announced his retirement, and apparently there’s a book of his memoirs also coming out too. I’m predicting it’s not headed for the New York Times best seller list. 

*Winter Olympics participation and the CBA negotiations for the NHL are starting to merge into giant issue.  

*Connor McDavid calls the Flyers' Brandon Manning classless for telling him on the ice that he purposefully tried to hurt him last season. Some players might also take issue with McDavid making public what another player said to him on the ice. That’s kind of a no-no for most hockey players and breaks an unwritten rule that McDavid might think he’s above given his star status. This whole thing isn’t a good look for anybody. 

*Kevin Stevens pleads guilty to federal drug charges in what’s become a pretty sad situation for the former NHL star. 

*New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is beginning to raise questions with his play, and his massive price tag. 

*Youngsters Zach Weresnki and Dylan Larkin took similar paths to the NHL, and are both considered part of the talented young generation full of hockey stars. 

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Carey Price taking a nutty on Kyle Palmieri after the player crashed into his crease last night. Price is being celebrated for sticking up for himself, but if another goalie did that to a Habs player at the Bell Centre, there would already be a warrant out for his arrest. Play it both ways, Montreal!  

*For something completely different: here’s the aforementioned new Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer that looks pretty darn good. 

 

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

BOSTON – While the loss to the Avalanche on Thursday night was a monumental dud, it put another dazzling display on the hockey resume of David Pastrnak. 

The 20-year-old star right winger scored two more goals in the 4-2 loss at TD Garden and nearly brought the Bruins back into the game by himself before another defensive breakdown at the end of the second period doomed them. 

Instead, Pastrnak had to settle with being the proud owner of 18 goals scored in 23 games that places him in a tie with NHL superstar Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals. 

The goals also showed his wide range of lethal offensive skills. On the first score, he just broke away from the Avalanche defense and managed to bury a second-effort breakaway chance after a nice Tim Schaller stretch pass off the boards. The second goal was a straight one-timer bomb from the high slot off a slick setup pass from Brad Marchand in the corner, and it had the Bruins right back into the mix after a dreadful first period. 

It wasn’t enough when the B’s defense faltered again toward the end of the second period, but it was enough for everybody to be singing Pastrnak’s praises once again following the loss. 

“He’s a game changer. The momentum is going the other way, and he has the ability to break away on any given shift and score a big goal for us. He did that tonight,” said Torey Krug. “We can’t just keep relying on the same guys to score goals. We’ve got to come up with secondary offense, and I know every other guy wants to do that. 

“Now it’s about showing that on the ice and making sure we’re doing the work and getting better and proving to ourselves. But Pasta [David Pastrnak] has been great for us so far, and we’re obviously lucky to have him.”

The 18 goals barely two months into the season are not too shabby for a kid, in his third NHL season, who just now coming into his own. He’s nearly halfway to 40 before Christmas. For Pastrnak, however, it’s about the team result and he wasn’t overly satisfied with his two goals in a losing effort. 

“I’ve said before the season that our goal is to make the playoffs and to have that experience and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m still focusing on that,” said Pastrnak, who has yet to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs in his two-plus seasons with the Black and Gold. “We have zero points from tonight’s game and we have to move on. I think our game gets better in the second and third periods, you know, and we have to regroup and get ready for Saturday’s game.”

The Bruins will undoubtedly regroup and once again count on another Pastrnak offensive explosion to help lead the way in what’s become a truly spectacular season for the youngster.