If only it were so easy to get every hockey player going as it was for motivating Brad Marchand.
The pesky Bs right winger was called out by his coach the day before Game 5 after four lackluster playoff performances, and was put on the fourth line at practice far from his customary top six forward spot on Bostons roster.
Claude Julien knew the prideful Marchand would respond to such a tactic, and that's exactly what he did with a two-point performance that included a big rebound goal in a 4-3 loss for the Bruins in Game 5 at TD Garden. The return to the front of the net was a welcome one for Marchand, who is one of the most hard-nosed Bruins when it comes to paying the price around the cage.
His efforts werent enough to seal a victory, but Marchands five shots on net in 16 plus minutes of ice time registered as his best effort of the playoffs.
After the game he credited the quick trip to the fourth line which was over after the first shift of Game 5 with getting him back into his hard-working frame of mind that allowed him to have success in the first place.
I know I have to be better and I try to prepare that way that I have to be better out there and I felt better today, said Marchand, who notched his first goal of the playoffs in the defeat. We seemed to have a little bit more energy at times there. We got down on a couple, we battled back, and I thought we really took it to them after that. We had a pretty solid game, but definitely got to get guys scoring a little bit more.
Marchand was being a good team guy in accentuating the need for more scoring while glossing over a pair of soft Tim Thomas goals in the third period, but improvement in both areas is required if the Bruins want to push things to seven games. Julien gave Marchand an attaboy after the game, and soft-peddled the message rendered when he dropped Marchand and Tyler Seguin to the bottom lines during Fridays practice.
It wasnt just a message: it was kind of getting another look at practice. At the same time, you know your players. I knew that Brad Marchand would certainly respond, said Julien. It was important for him to be put on a line that he deserves to be on and he responded well tonight. I thought he played really hard and played a great game for us.
Julien will have to go back to the drawing board to figure out a workable plan to awaken the offense in Milan Lucic and David Krejci, but it appears the Little Ball of Hate is back on track after a reality check.