Marchand Makes No Mistake
BostonBruins.com - Brad Marchand had three assists in the Bruins' first-round seven-game series against Toronto, before finding the back of the net on an overtime winner in Game One against New York.
After adding two opportunistic tallies in the B's 6-1 victory over the Penguins in Pittsburgh Monday night, the winger now has four goals and four assists in his next set of seven games.
"He’s been better since the New York series. This series he seemed to fight the puck a little bit, but it’s all about confidence," Coach Julien told media Tuesday afternoon, right after the Bruins had descended their plane at Hanscom Air Force Base, after making the trip from Pittsburgh, carrying a 2-0 series lead in tow.
"I think he’s got that confidence right now."
His first tally of the night was - to put it simply - huge for the Bruins. It came only 28 seconds into the game, in front of Pittsburgh's home crowd at the CONSOL Energy Center, when the hockey world was expecting a much better effort right off the hop from the Penguins.
Pens captain Sidney Crosby turned the puck over at the blueline and the lackadaisical pass was batted down by Marchand, who raced in on a breakaway, and put the moves on Tomas Vokoun for the quick strike.
"I think the puck kind of bounced on Sid there. I just came through and knocked it down. When I was going in, two sticks were on me, so I just wanted to make sure I got a shot off and lucky enough, to get in," said Marchand of the tally.
"We wanted to make sure we had a big start. We knew they were going to come out very hard and we wanted to make sure we weathered the storm."
"It was nice to get a couple early and we did a good job not letting up after that."
A point of emphasis coming into Game Two had been getting off to a strong start. It's something the Black & Gold had addressed as a team, following Pittsburgh's first-period pressure in Game One.
Marchand's goal came on the Bruins' first shot of the game.
"Luckily, it happened on the first shift. It's always good for the team when you score first. Gives us confidence a little bit and we tried to play our game. It was our goal [coming in] and it happened."
But no goal was bigger than Marchand's second tally. When Penguins' center Brandon Sutter scored a possible momentum-shifting goal with only 34 seconds left in the first period, the two-goal lead didn't seem all that insurmountable for the Pens.
But the B's winger came right back and answered with a tally 25 seconds later, and with only nine seconds remaining in the frame. Huge. Huge. Huge.
Jagr took a hit along the boards, pushing the puck out to Bergeron racing through the middle, who immediately found Marchand down the left wing. He fired - and cleanly beat Marc-Andre Fleury on his first shot faced, after replacing Tomas Vokoun.
The goal light went off, the Bruins swarmed Marchand, and it began a downward slide of silence from the Penguins' faithful.
"Marchy had confidence today about his shot," said Jagr, who was wearing the Bruins' Army Rangers Player of the Game jacket in the locker room following the win. The vet, of course, helped make the goal possible.
"He scored one on top shelf on the left side, so he tried the other side," he smiled. "He was a good shot."
The shot was on fire. Marchand scored on two of four drives towards the Pittsburgh net.
"We kind of broke down a bit, gave them a goal. It's a two-goal game at that point, at the end of the first. Gave them some life," said Bruins' netminder Tuukka Rask of the Pens' tally.
"But we took it right away. Got to give Marchy credit for that. Good shot."
"He had a jump in his step tonight," said Bergeron, of his long-time left winger. "When you see that, you can tell the way he shoots the puck, also. He finds every loose puck."
"The first goal was huge, they had a good shift before that breakaway. It was important to get that first one and carry that on with that second goal which was a huge goal again to keep going."
"I thought he was great. He was shooting the puck well. and he was first on pucks and finding loose pucks all the time, so that's what you need from a guy like him."
Milan Lucic was happy to see his linemates in Horton and Krejci factor into the scoring, but he was most impressed with Marchand's response snipe.
"Obviously getting that second and third goal were huge to extend the lead. But I think definitely the biggest goal of the game was when we got that fourth one back to get the three-goal lead, especially late in the period," said Lucic.
"We knew going in that if they were able to get the last one of the period, maybe they had something to create some momentum off. But a good, hard, strong play by Jags in the defensive zone to get the puck out of the zone that created that opportunity and Marchy made no mistake with his great shot there."
"We put a lot of emphasis on how important this game was for us. Obviously, when you win the first game you want to do everything you can to try to win that second one. It started off perfectly for us with the way that Marchy was able to step up and get that goal."
And whether or not it's Marchand stepping up again in Game Three back in Boston, the Bruins are not getting too far ahead of themselves yet. Just like they didn't take their foot off the gas following a four-goal first period book-ended by No. 63's scores.
"It's great that we were able to come in here and win both games, but it's definitely far from over."