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. 

Bergeron Hat-Trick Lifts Bruins to 5-0 Win

Milestone Night At TD Garden for Multiple Bruins. Boston, MA – Patrice Bergeron‘s hat-trick book-ended the Boston Bruins’ 5-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday. On what turned out to be a historic night at TD Garden, the 17,850 in attendance witnessed the Bruins’ captain’s eighth career hatty and David Pastrnak‘s 40th goal of the season,… Continue reading Bergeron Hat-Trick Lifts Bruins to 5-0 Win

Bruins Edge Rangers 3-1

Healthy Line-Up Gets the Win in Saturday Matinee. Boston, MA – The return of David Pastrnak, Hampus Lindholm, and Linus Ullmark sparked the Boston Bruins to a 3-1 win over the visiting New York Rangers on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. Pastrnak’s goal and assist, coupled with Ullmark’s 30 save performance, helped the Bruins break the 100-point plateau for the season.  “A lot. This time… Continue reading Bruins Edge Rangers 3-1

Bruins Strike Early, Hold On for 2-1 Win

Two quick goals give Boston all they need versus the Penguins Boston, MA – The Boston Bruins ended a three-game skid with a solid 2-1, sixty-minute effort over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday afternoon. The Bruins punched their post-season ticket on the strength of two first-period goals that came just over two minutes into the… Continue reading Bruins Strike Early, Hold On for 2-1 Win

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

Second Period Woes Down Bruins Again

Young Senators Squad Scores Three Unanswered in Second Period for 3-2 Win

Boston, MA – A pair of second-period penalties led to the Boston Bruins squandering a 2-1 lead for the second straight game. The visiting Ottawa Senators took advantage of a five-on-three, and with the remaining five-on-four, they beat the Bruins 3-2 in front of 17,850 at TD Garden. Boston has dropped three straight and four of five. 

The Senators controlled the action early in the game, but Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark was getting in front of everything Ottawa put on goal. Ullmark had three or four quality stops in the opening two minutes before the Bruins found their footing. Unfortunately for Boston, one of Ullmark’s saves was with his head. The 6′-4″ Swede took an Erik Brannstrom slapshot from the top of the left circle to the helmet early in the game. Ullmark elected to play on after a brief consultation with the Bruins’ training staff. 

Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark made a lunging glove save to rob Ottawa Senators defenseman Artem Zub late in the first-period. Ullmark would make eight saves in twenty minutes of action before departing the game with an injury as Boston lost to Ottawa 3-2 at TD Garden on Thursday, April 14, 2022.

Boston forward Marc McLaughlin continued his shot streak by netting his third goal in six games since signing out of Boston College. The forward from Billerica, Massachusetts gave the Bruins the lead at 6:36 of the first when he redirected a Nick Foligno shot past Senators goalie Anton Forsberg (40 saves).

Jesper Froden potted his first NHL goal at 19:01 when he tipped a Matt Grzelcyk shot from the blue line past Forsberg to give the Bruins the 2-0 lead going into the first intermission.

Boston celebrates the first NHL goal for Bruins forward Jesper Froden during the Bruins 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, April 14, 2022, at TD Garden.

“I tried to stay in front of the net, battle for the puck,” said Froden of his goal. “I lost my glove and I was thinking should I change or should I stay? Then I saw that the D got the puck and I just tried to be in the lane and tip the puck there. It went in and it was an amazing feeling.”

“I tried to come in and bring the energy to the guys, skate a lot, and battle,” added Froden of his first game with Boston in over a month and sixth of the season.

Ullmark turned back eight Senators shots during the first period but couldn’t come back out for the second before calling it a night during the first intermission.

Ottawa was 2-14-2 when trailing after the first period coming into the game, while the Bruins were 25-4-1 when leading after one. However, the Senators took advantage of a cold Jeremy Swayman (21 saves) just forty-seven ticks into the middle frame when Brady Tkachuk bounced a shot from behind the goal line off Swayman’s backside, cutting the deficit to 2-1.

The Bruins fell victim to the opposing team’s power-play for the second straight game. Tkachuk drew a High-Sticking call on Bruins defenseman Mike Reilly at 8:39. Patrice Bergeron went to the penalty box for Hooking at 8:46, which led to the Senators’ five-on-three power play.

The Senators capitalized on the five-on-three at 9:30 when centerman Josh Norris blasted a one-timer past Swayman from the top of the right circle. Drake Batherson and Tim Stützle assisted on Norris’ 33rd.

Fifty-seven seconds later, the Senators had the lead for good when Stützle banged in a loose puck in front of Swayman for his 18th. Batherson and Tkachuk assisted on the go-ahead power-play goal.

Ottawa Senators forwards Josh Norris and Tim Stützle celebrate Stützle’s power-play goal to give Ottawa the 3-2 lead in the second period of the Senator’s win against the Boston Bruins on Thursday, April 14, 2022, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

“I don’t know if it’s fatigue or lack of urgency. It’s tough to see,” said Bruins defenseman Grzelcyk of the second-period struggles. “The two penalties, they capitalize on both. We have to put out the fire there, but it’s something we have to address.”

“They (Ottawa) made a lot of good plays. They got to run the plays they wanted to, went through Stützle a lot,” said Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy. “He’s a dangerous player, and made some good plays. We were a little late with our assignments. That five-on-three was a good shot (by Norris); give credit for executing. What they did a lot better than us was hit the net quick with their plays. They hit the net.”

In the third, the Bruins controlled the early action, but Forsberg’s play and a continuation of the penalties kept the Bruins from establishing consistent pressure on Ottawa. Swayman turned back two Connor Brown breakaway bids to keep the Bruins within striking distance. 

Credit the Senators, who, despite being 27-40-6 and in seventh place in the Atlantic Division, lock down the win when leading after two periods. Ottawa is now 21-1-2 when leading after two. 

Boston has struggled without David Pastrnak on the power play. The team’s leading scorer has been out of the last five games due to a core injury. Meanwhile, a patchwork defense has been inadequate as Grzelcyk, Brandon Carlo, and Hampus Lindholm have all missed time over the last few games. 

“Losing Pasta and his shot, teams know how good he is over there,” Grzelcyk said of the power-plays lack of success. “A lot of times they take him away, and we kind of play four-on-three from there so we lose a little bit of that.”

“They’re doing a great job,” said Grzelcyk when asked about McLaughlin and Froden contributing to the cause. “They both work really hard. They’re not the biggest guys but they’re both fast and smart hockey players. It’s really impressive with them both stepping into the lineup.”

The Bruins will host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday at 12:30 pm EST at TD Garden.

Haula’s PPG Gives Bruins the Win

Erik Haula scores twice to help Boston outlast Columbus.

Boston, MA – The Columbus Blue Jackets took advantage of a minute-and-a-half of shaky play by Boston Bruins netminder Jeremy Swayman, coupled with a forty save performance from their goalie Elvis Merzlikins, to hang around the TD Garden longer than they should have. In the third period, Erik Haula‘s second goal of the game and a pair of empty-net goals gave the Bruins the push they needed to close out the Blue Jackets. Boston earned two points in the Eastern Conference standings to keep pace with the Toronto Maple Leafs and gain a point on the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

On a night when the Bruins and Blue Jackets were honoring Boston forward Nick Foligno‘s 1,000th game, which came March 15, 2022, in Chicago against the Black Hawks, the pesky Columbus squad turned in a solid effort against their former captain. Fortunately for Foligno and Boston, it wasn’t enough to overcome the Bruins’ power-play, which took advantage of their lone opportunity late in the third.

“We got back to playing the way we were supposed to,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy of their third-period performance. “Patient, responsible hockey, attack when the situation dictates, play behind their D, and create turnovers on the forecheck.”

“I thought we were doing that in spurts in the first and second periods, that’s how we were creating a lot of offense tonight, by pressuring their D,” added Cassidy. “Their goalie was seeing the puck well, so we needed some second and third effort around the net to get it by him.”

Haula continued his scoring ways when he banged in a loose puck during a scrum in the Columbus crease. Hampus Lindholm carried around the Blue Jackets net where he dished to a charging Charlie McAvoy. Merzlikins made a leg save on McAvoy’s backhander while laying on his stomach, but Taylor Hall knocked the puck to the opposite post, where Haula tapped it in for his 11th.

The Blue Jackets tied the game with 28 seconds left in the opening period when Gustav Nyquist crashed the Bruins’ net and knocked in a loose puck after Swayman (22 saves) couldn’t hold onto an Andrew Peeke shot from the blue line. Nyquist’s goal was his 17th. 

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Gustav Nyquist celebrates his first-period goal with the Blue Jackets bench on April 2, 2022.

Columbus pulled ahead only forty-two seconds into the middle frame when Justin Danforth knocked in a rebound at the top of the crease. Swayman made the initial stop on Yegor Chinakhov‘s shot from the goal line, but Danforth was there to swat in the puck. Chinakhov and Sean Kuraly assisted on Danforth’s seventh.

Brad Marchand tied the game for Boston with his 31st late in the period when he finished off some nifty passing with line-mates Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk at the left post. The Bruins had solid pressure in the Blue Jackets zone thanks to McAvoy keeping the play alive at the blue line before Boston equalized at 18:13. 

McAvoy raced to keep the puck in at the boards in front of the Bruins bench before firing it back into the zone where Marchand picked it up behind the Blue Jackets’ goal. Marchand dished to Bergeron for the one-timer that Merzlikins turned away, but again, McAvoy skated in and harassed Patrick Laine into passing straight to DeBrusk. DeBrusk walked out and dished to Bergeron, who faked a shot before sliding a pass to Marchand at the far post for the tap into an empty net.

The Boston Bruins celebrate Brad Marchand’s 31st goal of the year during the first period of Boston’s 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at TD Garden on April 2, 2022.

Peeke drew a Hooking penalty at 14:06 of the third period giving the Bruins their first man-advantage. Columbus almost got away scot-free, but Haula re-directed a Brandon Carlo slap-pass past Merzlikins for the go-ahead goal as the penalty was expiring at 16:06.

Haula’s second of the game, and fifth in the last four games, proved to be the difference. Haula has ten points in the previous six games.

“It’s awesome when you can help the team win, yeah I’m happy,” said Haula. “I’m having a lot of fun. I feel like the team’s playing really well and it’s obviously helping a lot. I’m just enjoying the ride, trying to do my best to prepare for every game and trying to bring it.”

“I don’t know if it gets to me, but I have moved a lot lately,” Haula said when asked if surviving the trade deadline has helped his recent production. “Maybe there’s a little thought in the back of the head, of the past, you work through that obviously, and it is nice when you know ‘this is our team’ but that’s ultimately out of my control.”

“Now it’s put the foot on the gas and try to do something special here,” added Haula.

The Bruins added a Jake DeBrusk (19) empty-net goal at 18:00 and a Charlie Coyle (15) empty-netter at 19:54 for the icing on the cake. 

Boston completes a five-game homestand where they went 4-1 and will face off against the Blue Jackets again on Monday night in Columbus, Ohio, to kick off a four-game road trip. 

 Erik Haula’s photo appears courtesy of Carolyn Mooney. Follow her on Instagram @caramooneyphoto

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.”

Bruins Rout Devils, Score Six in Second Period

12 Players Grab a Point, None Bigger Than Marc McLaughlin’s first. Boston, MA – After getting battered by the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-4 on Tuesday, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said changes were coming to the Bruins lineup. On Thursday, those changes paid dividends as Boston put the visiting New Jersey Devils through the wringer in an 8-1 laugher in front… Continue reading Bruins Rout Devils, Score Six in Second Period

Bruins Squander, Kings Conquer

Boston, MA- A week ago, the Boston Bruins embarrassed the Los Angeles Kings 7-0 in L.A. In Monday’s rematch, the Bruins embarrassed themselves by blowing a 2-1 lead with 26 seconds left in the game on a Trevor Moore rebound stuff. Then Andreas Athanasiou beat Linus Ullmark top shelf in overtime to earn the Kings revenge. “We didn’t do a good job… Continue reading Bruins Squander, Kings Conquer