Player of the Week: March 2nd-March 8th
While the Boston Bruins were in yet another one of their funks, Brad Marchand did everything he could to get the hometown team back to playing up to its standards.
After last Saturday’s win over the Arizona Coyotes where Marchand scored and added an assist, it seemed as if his competitiveness was taking over. His line along with Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith were the best trio on the ice at TD Garden in his team’s 4-1 victory.
Since that game against the Coyotes, the Black and Gold have taken seven out of a possible eight points including four out of a possible four in back-to-back games against the Flyers and Red Wings gaining steam in the Eastern conference. The 26 year-old has been the main reason why.
Although Julien and company lost on Thursday night to the Calgary Flames, the left-winger found himself in the box score yet again giving his team a 1-0 lead. Saturday afternoon against the Flyers where it looked as if the B’s were going to lose a critical two points to Philadelphia, Marchand answered the bell yet again. With less than 15 seconds left in regulation while on a 6-on-4 scenario (Tuukka Rask pulled), Marchand redirected a Dougie Hamilton shot from the point that tied the game at 2-2 sending TD Garden into a frenzy. But, Marchand wasn’t done. In overtime, he beat Michael Del Zotto one-on-one where he then got a lucky bounce beating Steve Mason to give the B’s the 3-2 win.
On Sunday afternoon, Marchand scored his third goal in two days and fifth goal in four games beating Jonas Gustavsson short-handed setting the tone for the Black and Gold for the afternoon that led to a 5-3 victory.
The fifth year forward now has 22 goals on the season to set the pace for Julien’s team. In four out of his five seasons in Boston, Marchand has scored at least 20 goals and the only season he didn’t was during the 2012-2013 season-a lockout shortened season where he netted 18 goals in 45 games.
Marchand is on a tear as of late and that bodes very well for the Black and Gold as they are hitting their stride at the right time. He may even be playing his best hockey of the season, but he won’t admit that.
“I don’t know,” Marchand said after his team’s 5-3 win against the Red Wings Sunday. “Things just seem to be clicking right now, bounces that weren’t going in earlier in the year are now finding the net. So, I’m just trying to work hard and that’s how hockey goes sometimes you get bounces and sometimes you don’t and you just try to stay even keeled.”
The Black and Gold now sit with a four point lead over the Florida Panthers for the final playoff spot in the East with one game in hand. With 17 games to go, the B’s need to continue their recent stretch of success and it needs to continue with their “Little ball of Great” not their “Little ball of hate.”