Marchand Stirs the Pot

Winger also is the straw that stirs the drink for Bruins.

The factors for the Boston Bruins evening up their best-of-seven series against the Carolina Hurricanes are multiple. The biggest one is the play of Boston’s agitator-in-chief, Brad Marchand. Over the weekend, the 5′-9″ winger upped his game dramatically in the Bruins’ two series-tying victories in Boston. Marchand’s numbers in games one and two in Raleigh, NC, were not on par with his usual production. He had one assist and mustered only five shots on goal during the two losses to open the series.

His numbers at TD Garden in games three and four were off the charts. Eight points (three goals and five assists) and eight shots. During game two on Sunday, a 5-2 win, Marchand factored into all five Bruins’ goals.

Marchand is the engine that drives the Bruins. The Bruins thrive when he gets under the opponents’ skin while keeping his cool. In Carolina Marchand was stymied by the smothering play of Jordan Staal, Jesper Fast, and Nino Niederreiter. Marchand’s frustration was evident in game two when Hurricanes back-up netminder Pyotr Kochetkov slashed him in the second period. Marchand flinched as if he was going to retaliate with a two-handed slash but held back, only to follow through after a shove by Kochetkov.

“He’s got a letter on his sweater for a reason,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “He’s a battler, a competitive guy his whole life, he’s not going to get down too long. It’s the time of year he loves to play. He’s shown that.”

“You now have some animosity, we’re in game three or four,” added Cassidy. “there’s some chirping going on now too and that can elevate his game.”

Back in Boston, it was Marchand doing the provoking. He drew Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo off of his game in game four. After the buzzer sounded to end the first period in game four, the two exchanged pleasantries where Marchand called DeAngelo a racist. DeAngelo has a history going back to his OHL days and his time with the New York Rangers.

“It wasn’t much of an exchange,” said Marchand when asked about it. “I didn’t even know he was around me. Kind of came out of nowhere. There really wasn’t much of one…Just saying, “Hey, how’s your Mother’s Day?”

“It’s bright lights time and I think Marshy has always been pretty good with that.”

Marchand admitted after game three that his play hadn’t been where it needed to be.

“It’s the most I’ve felt engaged,” said the Bruins’ assistant captain. “It got to be a little while since I felt that into a game. I think the importance of the situation we’re in hit us all.”

Carolina had the advantage of putting the trio of Jordan Staal, Jesper Fast, and Nino Niederreiter on the re-united “Perfection Line” of Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak. Carolina’s trio kept the Bruins’ trio scoreless, save for Bergeron’s power-play goal in game three.

Cassidy was able to keep his charges away from that setup at home, and it paid off as the “Perfection Line” rattled off a combined 16 points at TD Garden. 

“Staal’s line is a very dominant, defensive line, very hard on forechecks,” said Marchand. “They’re big so they cover a lot of space in the d-zone and the neutral zone and they compete. They’re very good on face-offs as well so you don’t always get as many opportunities off of that. Kind of a strength of our group.”

“That’s playoffs, it’s a chess match, that’s the advantages of being at home versus being on the road,” added Marchand. “That’s a very good line, they’ve been great in this series so far. Those are the types of players that take you deep in the playoffs.”

The Marchand line primarily went up against Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov, and Seth Jarvis in game three. Game four was a majority of Aho, Svechnikov, and Staal as line-ups shuffled due to power-plays, penalty kills, and in-game changes.

    Marchand’s Ice TIme Versus Staal line in Games 1-4
Staal 12:04 Fast 11:18 Niederreiter 11:58
Staal 11:49 Fast 10:07 Niederreiter 10:40
Staal 5:43 Fast 2:34 Niederreiter 2:34
Staal 9:13 Fast 3:49 Niederreiter 3:31

“It will be an in-game decision,” said Cassidy about splitting up the Marchand line again before game five. “We’re down to the best two-out-of-three. We’ll do whatever we think is right in-game to get back on track. That was the reason for it, late in game two, whenever we switched back. We needed some offensive momentum, those two guys could benefit from seeing each other, Marchand and Pastrnak, and I think they have.”

“We’ll see. A lot is made up of the match-up,” added Cassidy. “They (Carolina) will obviously control that for the most part. We scored a couple of goals off of face-offs the other day. Sometimes an icing can take you out of your match-up too, so there’s a little bit of that that we’ll keep an eye on.”

“At the end of the day, those guys have played against all the best in the NHL,” continued Cassidy. “Yes, it’s a challenge for them, but they’ve also been through these series. That’s what they’re up against.”

The Bruins will need to steal one in Carolina if they plan on advancing from this series. 

The Struggle Is Real

The Boston Bruins‘ recent stretch has been a minor cause for alarm as the injuries and losses mount. It’s not that they are losing so much as it is how they are losing. Boston has given up three straight second-period leads during this current three-game losing streak, their longest season. The Bruins have eight regular-season… Continue reading The Struggle Is Real

Bruins Falter as Tarasenko, Blues win 4-2

Boston, MA – The St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins haven’t faced each other in 899 days. Still, there was an intensity and familiarity at TD Garden on Tuesday as the two teams renewed acquaintances for the first time since October 26, 2019. The 2018-19 Stanley Cup Finals were still fresh in everyone’s minds when the two clubs… Continue reading Bruins Falter as Tarasenko, Blues win 4-2

McLaughlin Lives Out Dream

The local kid has a storybook night at TD Garden

Boston, MA – Watch any child at play and listen to them acting out a scenario. 

“He catches the pass, time is winding down, ten, nine… He shoots! Score! The (insert team) wins on (insert name) ‘s go-ahead goal with one second left in the game!”

On Thursday at TD Garden, Billerica, Massachusetts native and former Boston College Eagles star Marc McLaughlin lived out that youthful childhood dream in front of 17,850 during the Boston Bruins’ 8-1 win over the New Jersey Devils.

 

McLaughlin, who signed as a free agent on March 15, 2022, after the Eagles wrapped up their season with a loss at Northeastern in the Hockey East playoffs, was making his NHL debut for his hometown team. He also picked up his first NHL goal in the second period on his first NHL shot.

“It was pretty special,” said McLaughlin of his goal. “I feel like I’ve lived that moment as a kid 100 million times down in my basement. For it to come true here, to get in a game and contribute with a goal is really special.”

At 12:04 of the second, McLaughlin made it 7-1 Bruins when he finished off a two-on-one rush with Trent Frederic by one-timing a shot from the slot past Devils backup goalie Jon Gilles. 

“Freddie (Trent Frederic) had a good block, started there in the d-zone,” McLaughlin said. “Freddie got his feet moving and made a great pass right in my wheel-house. All I had to do is shoot it in.”

Boston Bruins forward Marc McLaughlin prepares to shoot his first NHL goal in his NHL debut at TD Garden on March 31, 2022.

TD Garden erupted in jubilation when McLaughlin’s shot hit the twine in the top right corner. The jumbotron showed his parents and relatives in a celebratory dance which only added to the occasion. 

“I saw it on the jumbotron,” said McLaughlin. “I saw my mum jumping up and down. That was pretty cool to see. I’m blessed with having such a supportive family, and friends; my teammates were here tonight. That means a lot to me to see them out there.” 

“Well, did you see the bench?” asked Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy about McLaughlin’s goal. “It tells you about our team. The kid’s only been here a little bit, but he’s worked. I think every guy on the bench was excited for him. He’s a hard-working kid. Getting your first goal in front of your parents and family is a nice thing. Everyone was happy for him. He earned it; he played well.”

The Boston Bruins bench was all smiles as they celebrate Marc McLaughlin’s first NHL goal during the Bruins’ 8-1 win over the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden on Thursday, March 31, 2022.

“It was funny looking over during warmups and seeing the crowd that he had here,” said Brad Marchand. “Such a surreal feeling for him, I’m sure, being a local kid, getting the opportunity to play here.”

“We were talking before the game, in the gym a little bit,” added Marchand. “He was talking to Grizzy (Matt Grzelcyk) about his first game here. It must be special for their whole families. We’re very happy for him. He’s such a good kid, you always love to see that.”

“He does all the right things, he works hard, stays in his lane. ut very personable when you talk to him,” said Marchand of McLaughlin. “He does the things that you want to see from a kid coming from his situation. He’s always working hard out on the ice, working in the gym after practice. He’s there early all the time. one of the first guys here tonight. He’s a pro. He’s already dialed in. He’s going to fit in well here.”

Capping off childhood dreams, McLaughlin revealed he usually pretended to be Patrice Bergeron during those basement sessions. 

“It’s definitely surreal. That’s a guy I’ve looked up to my whole life,” said McLaughlin knowing that Bergeron was celebrating on the Bruins bench.

Not a bad pro start for the undrafted BC captain, who also participated in the Beijing Olympics in February for Team USA. McLaughlin scored 21 goals and ten assists in 33 games with the Eagles in 2021-22. His career totals at the Heights were 40-35-75 in 130 games.

“Coach York has had such a great impact on me as a person and as a hockey player,” said McLaughlin of his time at BC with legendary head coach Jerry York. “He really values being a good person, being positive, and just showing up and competing every day. I can’t say enough about how much he’s grown my game over the past four years.”

McLaughlin said some good-natured ribbing was going on with three Boston University Terriers in the Bruins locker room. 

“They were joking with me when I arrived; hopefully, we’ll get some more Eagles over here.”

Elevator, Going Up!

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NHL, Bruins Announce Re-Scheduled Games over “Olympic Break”

ON WEDNESDAY, the NHL announced that the three-week, league-wide pause scheduled into the 2021-22 season for the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, will now be used to make up canceled games due to COVID-19 over the last month and change.For the Boston Bruins, the team will host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, February… Continue reading NHL, Bruins Announce Re-Scheduled Games over “Olympic Break”

Boston Holds Off Devils for 5-2 Win

Newark, NJ – The Boston Bruins accomplished two goals on Saturday afternoon by beating the New Jersey Devils 5-2 at the Prudential Center. First, they held onto a third-period lead. Second, they picked up a road win. The Bruins squandered a 3-2 lead on Thursday at home against the Edmonton Oilers, leaving them sour. Saturday, they built on a 3-2 lead in… Continue reading Boston Holds Off Devils for 5-2 Win

Musings From Day One of Bruins Camp

Two thoughts on Brad Marchand… one is if this whole hockey thing doesn’t work out he has a career in comedy. The 33-year-old, 12-year veteran was asked if with all the departures of the core group that made three Stanley Cup runs he gives any thought to how long he plans on playing? “Until they… Continue reading Musings From Day One of Bruins Camp

Bruins Name Bergeron Captain

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Kuntar Settling Into Boston

Chestnut Hill, MA – Four games does not a career make, but what a great way to start. Boston College freshman Trevor Kuntar scored his first career goal Friday night and added a pair on Saturday, as BC swept the weekend series against #12 Providence College.  Kuntar has four points in his first four games. The Eagles (4-0) are perched atop the… Continue reading Kuntar Settling Into Boston