Hockey is a funny game, there is no denying that. Sometimes all you need is a simple change in order to get back on track and get things going. For Brad Marchand, a calendar change from 2013 to 2014 was all the fourth year forward needed to start finding the back of the net once again.
Through the Bruins first 40 games of the 2013-14 National Hockey League season — all played in 2013 — Marchand had lit the lamp just nine times. But thanks to a red hot start to 2014, the “Little Ball of Hate” has found his scoring touch, and found it in a big way.
With seven goals in nine January games including six in his last four contests, Marchand now leads the Bruins in goals with 16.
It was a frustrating run of hockey for Marchand. It showed on multiple occasions as Marchand often let his emotions get the best of him. This is where he becomes a “bad brat.” After some taunting towards the Vancouver Canucks bench in a game that saw the Bruins get absolutely embarrassed, Marchand had a sit down meeting with head coach Claude Julien and General Manager Peter Chiarelli about his actions.
The talk seemed to eventually pay off, as Marchand has been the Bruins best player thus far in 2014, and is becoming a “good brat” again. Sometimes in stretches like this, luck has a lot to do with it, but take a look at some of his goals of late and you’ll see that his goals have come from a combination of skill, confidence and hard work.
Marchand’s shorthanded goal in the Bruins’ 3-2 win over the Kings Monday afternoon is a perfect example of that combination. Marchand raced the puck up, deked around Kings defenseman Drew Doughty causing him to drop his stick and then put a puck on net. The initial shot was stopped by U.S.A. Olympian, Jonathan Quick, but Marchand was able to collect his rebound, put a beautiful move on forward Anze Kopitar and sneak one past Quick for his league leading fourth shorthanded goal.
Oh, and did I mention including Kopitar, there were four Kings players all within a few feet of Marchand when he scored? It was a thing of beauty for sure.
“Yeah well I mean I don’t think I would have got it through if he didn’t drop his stick so kind of a catch 20/20 there, it got through and then his stick got in the way again, but it was nice to get it back and put it back in,” said Marchand.
Brad Marchand’s stats by month
One of the reasons Marchand has been so successful of late has been the chemistry with linemates Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith. Marchand and Bergeron have always had chemistry as the two have been linemates for years, but after the Bruins lost Loui Eriksson to a concussion back in December, Smith was added to the Bruins second line, a move that has worked out very well for Marchand.
“Yeah no we have been playing together for a while now and I think we know where each other is going to be and it’s a lot easier to make plays when you know where your guys going to be,” added Marchand.
“Right now we are feeling pretty good and have built a lot of chemistry with Smitty [Reilly Smith] too so hopefully we can continue.”
Since earning a full time roster spot during the 2010-11 season, Marchand hasn’t had any issues putting the puck in the net. During the 2011-12 season, Marchand’s sophomore campaign he finished with 28 goals, one back of former Bruin Tyler Seguin for the team lead.
As fun as things have been for Marchand recently, he isn’t afraid to admit he knows that eventually this run will come to an end.
“Yeah it’s nice, but you know it’s going to end at some point. You are just trying to stay even keel, you don’t want to get too high ever and you don’t want to get too low. So the main thing right now is to try and continue to work hard and hopefully it will stay the same way. “
See what Marchand, Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller had to say say following the Bruins 3-2 win Monday afternoon: