Haggerty: Marchand finds offense, attitude just in time

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Haggerty: Marchand finds offense, attitude just in time

ST. LOUIS Brad Marchand knew it had been a long stretch since he had scored a goal (six games, actually) or been a physical factor (the Montreal game at the start of the road trip).

So he was bound and determined to become the dogged pain in the rump that he is when both player and team are doing well, and it worked to the tune of a two-goal performance in Bostons 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center Wednesday night.

When your team isnt winning like they can, you put a lot of pressure on yourself to score, said Marchand. I hadnt had a goal in a while and that was one of the longer slumps Ive had recently. It was nice to get the monkey off my back.

Marchand opened and closed the scoring for the Bruins with goals, and was once again the tone-setting force.

Its what you needed from your best players and the guys that can score, said coach Claude Julien of Marchand. Marchand is a guy thats pretty competitive and pretty proud. He takes things to heart, and I like the way he played and the way he competed.

It just goes to show that when our guys put their minds to it and theyre determined to be the hardest-working team out there, then they give us a pretty good chance.

Marchand has also passed Tyler Seguin in goals scored; he now has 21 to Seguin's 20. He showed his quickness, tenacity and skill when he stripped Kevin Shattenkirk of the puck near the defensive blue line, proceeded to move in all alone toward the net and then sizzled a snap-shot over Brian Elliotts shoulder 2:29 into the game.

Getting that first goal for our team lately has been really big. Usually when the other team scores against us first we let up a bit, said Marchand. Thats how we have to keep playing and trying to get that first goal early.

We played tight and we played a good game. We came up big when we had to and thats how we play our game.

That gave the Bruins the start they needed after falling behind early in many of their recent disappointing games, and handed Marchand the kind of jump he needed. He was even able to shake off a borderline first period leg check from St. Louis captain David Backes that appeared to make painful contact with his knee. There was no penalty call in a game that featured only one power play apiece for a pair of physical teams, but that didnt matter.

Instead of complaining to the referees or looking for a call there, Marchand simply left it behind and kept focusing on the action on the ice. His line and the reconfigured Milan LucicDavid KrejciChris Kelly trio carried the play and the offensive production, and Marchand Nose Face Killed the Blues with a third period insurance goal that effectively closed the door.

With the Bruins clinging to a 3-2 lead during a strong final 20 minutes, Marchand raced toward the offensive zone once Patrice Bergeron had won a loose puck battle in the defensive zone. Bergeron got the puck to Seguin, and the 20-year-old sophomore zinged a long stretch pass to a streaking Marchand for a breakaway chance against Elliott.

Rather than go upstairs as he had earlier in the game, Marchand opted for a forehand fake before tucking the puck between Elliotts outstretched pads in classic five-hole fashion. The goal represented needed victory for the Black and Gold, but it also allowed Marchand to shoot past both Seguin and Lucic for sole possession of the Bs goal-scoring lead.

In the entire hubbub about Marchands antics and borderline hits, some can pretty easily forget that hes also a damned good offensive hockey player.

Marchand gave a healthy reminder of that on Wednesdays win and how closely linked his personal success and the teams triumphs are in the grand scheme of things.

Video: Chara hits practice goalie in groin

Video: Chara hits practice goalie in groin

BRIGHTON, Mass -- Life as an emergency practice goalie can be pretty rough.

Take, for instance, Mass State Trooper Keith Segee, who has suited up a couple of times for the Boston Bruins this season during times of need, and did exactly that during Wednesday’s optional practice for the Black and Gold.

Segee got caught with a Zdeno Chara cranked slap shot right in the family jewels, and then had to walk…er, crawl it off like any normal human being would after getting bombed by a guy that can shoot it 108-mph.

“He’s got the hardest shot of anybody I’ve ever seen,” said Segee, with a smile. “I had to take two or three laps around the rink after that one and skate it off.”

Give Chara credit for moving right over to Segee and giving him a tap on the backside for skating it off, and risking life, limb and perhaps a lot more to stop a few pucks for the Black and Gold.

Segee played at Revere High and Salem State College before joining the Mass State Police, and got the emergency gig through Bruins goalie coach Bob Essensa when Boston needed a practice goalie at the end of last week in Tuukka Rask’s absence.

Let’s hope Segee is okay at this point, or the Bruins captain could be looking at a few more moving violations in his future. 

Wednesday, March 29: Oilers back in the playoffs

Wednesday, March 29: Oilers back in the playoffs

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while gearing up for the last couple of weeks.

*The Edmonton Oilers will return to the Stanley Cup playoffs this season as it looks like Canada will be well-represented once again after last year’s absence.

*Let’s meet the man behind the push to bring the NHL to China, and introduce the game to billions of people.

*Eric Staal is enjoying his second act with the Minnesota Wild, and even better he’s totally flourishing there as well.

*Let’s hear it for the US Women’s team that stuck to their guns and got an unprecedented deal with USA Hockey that will allow them to focus on winning for the next four years.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough has Steve Stamkos “really close” to a return for the Tampa Bay Lightning, in a concerning development for the Boston Bruins’ playoff hopes.

*Apparently things are getting a little heightened with the Los Angeles Kings as some of their prominent players skipped a media session in Calgary.

*For something completely different: Let’s hear it for the best news of the day, the Cash Cab is coming back.