Brad Marchand, Tyler Seguin, Rick Nash and Brad Richards, four talented National Hockey League players that led their respective teams during the regular, unfortunately for them, the same can’t be said about their performances in the opening round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Brad Marchand led the Bruins in points during the lockout-shortened 2013 season with 36. Fellow third year forward and line-mate Tyler Seguin wasn’t too far behind him with 32 points in 48 games, good enough for third on the team—tied with Patrice Bergeron—in scoring.
In their seven game series with the Maple Leafs, Marchand had three points, Seguin one. Neither Marchand nor Seguin managed to find the back of the net against the Maple Leafs.
As for the New York Rangers, big guns Rick Nash (42 points) and Brad Richards (34) finished second and third respectively for the Rangers in regular season points. In the playoffs, Nash and Richards have struggled as Nash had just two assists while Richards had a single goal, his only point in the Rangers seven game series win against the Washington Capitals.
The Bruins hope Marchand and Seguin return to form, while the Rangers hope for the same from Nash and Richards.
Marchand and Seguin both know that their performance in the opening round was poor and they need to step it up as the two are looked upon to carry the Bruins, much like Marchand did with 11 goals and 8 assists in the Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup Playoff run.
“We both know that we need to be better, and be more accountable,” said Marchand. “We’re looking to be better. You just have to dig down. Sometimes when you have that good chance or that scoring opportunity around the net, you think it’s just going to go in.
Seguin echoed what Marchand had to say about their struggles.
“We know how much more we can bring to the table, and it’s about being more accountable to our teammates. It’s a little bit of personal adversity, I guess.”
Marchand and Seguin skated together throughout much of their opening round series with the Leafs, but in today’s morning skate—where Marchand left early with an apparent injury, but will play tonight—Marchand was on a line with Bergeron and Jaromir Jagr. Seguin was skating alongside Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley.
The Rangers come into their series with the Bruins getting scoring from their secondary scoring as their top weapons have struggled.
In three games against the Capitals in the regular season, Nash was held scoreless. As stated same was the case in the playoffs against the Capitals.
In three regular season games against the Bruins, Nash was held without a goal, the Bruins hope to mimic the Capitals in regards to Rick Nash and playoff scoring.
According to Rangers head coach John Tortorella, Nash has what it takes to put the previous series in the past, and find ways to score goals against the Bruins.
“He played really well in Game 7 and really didn’t have many bad games in the seven-game series in Washington,” stated Tortorella.
“He didn’t finish. He certainly wasn’t totally on. But he’s very close, and I thought he played really well in Game 7. So, yeah, he’s playing, and I think he’s going to be a really big part of this as we enter into Boston.”
Due to the struggles of his top forwards, Tortorella has been forced to juggle his lines, and as a result Brad Richards has been skating on the Rangers fourth line as he centers Arron Ashem and former Boston College Eagle, Chris Kreider.
Richards wasn’t afraid to admit playing with fourth line guys has been a bit different.
“I’m not going to bash my linemates like that, but it’s a little more simple, a little more straightforward than some other ways to play,” said Richards. “But this time of season, a lot of that other stuff doesn’t work anyway. It’s got to be straightforward, it’s got to be to get shots when you can and drive to the net and try to just create more.”
Having Marchand and or Seguin breaking out of their slumps could be the recipe to a series victory in round two for the Bruins.
The same could be said about Nash, Richards and the Rangers.