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.

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

BOSTON – The Bruins simply weren’t ready to play on Thursday night when the puck was dropped against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

They fell down quickly by a 2-0 score, had a couple of completely inept power plays in the first period that sucked all the game’s momentum away from them and received some subpar goaltending from Anton Khudobin on the way to a 4-2 loss to the lowly Avs. About the only B’s person above reproach in this one was David Pastrnak after scoring a pair of goals in the second period to get Boston back into the game, but it all fell short in a very frustrating, lackadaisical loss to a Western Conference team that isn’t very good. 

Needless to say B’s coach Claude Julien wasn’t too happy after a loss where the Bruins might have had more success with a smarter approach to holding the puck. 

“There were a lot of problematic things [in the loss]. No doubt that the power play could have helped us in the first period, and failed to do that. They’ve got to be better,” said Julien. “We needed some saves tonight, and we didn’t get them. [Anton Khudobin] has got to be better. 

“A lot of things here that we can be better at, and take responsibility [for]. But at the same time, you got to move on here.  It’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, we would have had a chance.”

Clearly it was about a lacking group effort when dissecting the loss, and the minus-3 for David Krejci on Thursday night marked back-to-back negative performances from the playmaking Czech center in big spots. The goaltending was shoddy with Anton Khudobin allowing four goals on 22 shots for Colorado, and unable to make plays on a couple of Colorado shots from outside the painted area that built up the Avs lead in the first place. 

But it was also very much about the inability of the Bruins to generate consistent offense outside of David Pastrnak’s offensive burst in the second period, and the complete breakdown of the Boston power play in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins struggled to enter the zone in their first PP possession of the game, and then allowed a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal after Torey Krug futilely dove at the blue line to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. 

The Krug misplay at the offensive blue line gave MacKinnon a clear path the net, and he buried a wrist shot past Khudobin to get the one-sided loss rolling. Beyond the costly mistakes that ended up in the back of the net, the Bruins looked sloppy and slow-reacting in their breakouts and more than willing to settle for outside perimeter shots.

That doesn’t exactly make for a winning combo even when it comes against a flawed, underachieving team like Colorado, and especially when it comes less than 24 hours after a hard-fought road game in Washington DC. 

“I think we were still sleeping there early in the game and they were able to capitalize on their opportunities. We couldn’t claw our way back,” said Brad Marchand, who picked up an assist on David Pastrnak’s second goal of the night on a perfect dish for the one-timer. “I think it was definitely a mental [block]. You’re able to battle through that physical fatigue. It was more the mental mistakes and not being prepared right off the hop of the start of the game. Again, that’s kind of where we lost it.”

The sleepwalking Bruins lost Thursday night’s valuable two points as soon as the opening puck was dropped against the Avalanche, of course, and the Bruins never got out of lollygag mode at a time when intensity should have been automatic.