If you were looking for Brad Marchand the last two weeks, he could be found on the side of a milk carton “missing in action.”
This week was a different story. Although he didn’t compile eye-popping numbers, Marchand had one goal and produced a plus-4. His presence on the ice was different. He had that pep in his step with and without the puck. He was crashing the net. He was throwing the puck on the net. These were things he was not doing just a month ago. During Marchand’s resurgence on the Bruins five-game homestand, the B’s went a cool 4-0-1 improving to second place in their division and conference.
It is no secret that the “Little Ball of Hate” is a key to the B’s success. After the B’s victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Marchand explained what clicked for the team during the homestand.
“I think we kind of bared down after that last loss and I think we had a few tough practices and I think we all really just got back to working hard and keeping it a little more simple,” Marchand said. “We know we have to be better, we have a really good team here and we want to live up to our expectations. I think we’re coming around.”
Marchand has been moved around this year playing with different line combinations, but we all know Marchand is at his best when he is alongside Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson. This second line has only combined for 27 points so far this season which is kind of shocking, but we all know there will be a stretch where this line puts the team on their back for a few wins down the stretch.
Marchand’s credentials last season were off the charts. He won his first team scoring title, he was tied for third in the NHL with five game-winning goals, he was seventh in the league with a +23 rating and he was sixth in shooting percentage at 19.8%. In 2013, his stats are on pace to be considerably lower than in 2012, but Marchand’s play in the last week may be a sign that he is turning the corner.
Marchand’s been a consistent 20-goal scorer for the Black and Gold over the last three seasons. There is no doubt that Marchand will be knocking on the door of another 20-goal season once it is all said and done.
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