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.