Type to search

  • Bruins persevere for hard-earned point as Brad Marchand acheives milestone

    Tim Rosenthal January 9, 2024

    DENVER — A litmus test awaited the Boston Bruins as they approach the midway point of their centennial season.

    Their first of those challenges came Monday night against the high-octane Colorado Avalanche. The Bruins hardly had their A-Game going, yet persevered to a hard-earned point to kick off their four-game road trip.

    Jim Montgomery’s squad had to fight through penalty trouble, puck mismanagement and an injury to Brandon Carlo. These developments hardly serve as a good omen against any NHL squad, let alone a team in the league’s upper echelon.

    Given the circumstances, the Bruins will gladly take the one point from their 4-3 shootout setback. And even during an off night, they encountered some encouraging developments.

    After notching a power play marker in the first, and Boston’s second equalizer early in the third, Brad Marchand moved into fifth place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list.

    The Bruins also received a bounce-back blue-collar outing from Johnny Beecher. In his return to fourth-line duty, the former Michigan Wolverine landed a heavy hit on Devon Toews in the first. 

    Midway through the second, Beecher buried a rebound on Danton Heinen‘s initial shot for Boston’s first tying marker.

    Without their top shorthanded minutes eater in Carlo, the Bruins managed to keep Colorado’s skilled power-play unit in check with a pair of timely kills in the third. The standout moment came on the final PK attempt when Jeremy Swayman delivered a highlight-reel toe save on Cale Makar to seal Boston’s point.

    The Bruins succumbed to ill-timed turnovers and sloppy puck management earlier in the night.

    Mikko Rantanen’s doorstep tally late in the opening frame provided Colorado’s lone power play marker.

    The Avs rode that momentum into the second 20, promptly earning their first lead of the night after Logan O’Connor took advantage of a brutal collision involving Kevin Shattenkirk and Pavel Zacha.

    Sam Malinski bookended Colorado’s second-period effort with his second career goal after firing a shot through traffic and past Swayman.

    The Bruins failed to capitalize on a 4-on-3 power play in the final 1:58 of overtime. Valeri Nichushkin capped off Colorado’s victory after notching the only tally from the shootout.

    Here’s what we learned as the Bruins’ spirited comeback bid fell short in the Mile High City.

    Marchand’s “will and skill” move him up the franchise ranks.

    At the beginning of his career, Marchand made a name for himself as an offensively skilled but edgy performer. Over time, he overcame his persona and developed from “Little Ball of Hate” into a reliable leader on and off the ice.

    On Monday, the ever-vocal Marchand dragged the Bruins back into battle.

    “Marshy was terrific tonight. I felt he led really well,” Montgomery said of Boston’s captain. “He was very vocal on the bench about how we needed to get to our game and explaining to his teammates what we had to do.”

    Montgomery only began working with Marchand last season. But the second-year Boston coach is well aware of Marchand’s evolution within the Bruins’ organization.

    With his work ethic and incredible attention to detail, Marchand rose from a fourth-line grinder into one of the top wingers in franchise history. Through ‘will and skill,’ Marchand solidified his spot among the Boston greats.

    “He’s the perfect example of when you have will and skill, you can really climb the ladder in this league,” Montgomery added after Marchand surpassed Rick Middleton on the team’s all-time scoring list. “He started off as a guy [who] played in Providence, fourth line [in Boston], and then he becomes a first line and first power-play [player]. It’s all because of his determination and his professionalism to his craft. It’s unbelievable to be around true pros like that.”

    The penalty kill showcased urgency without Carlo.

    The Bruins had to use a five-defensemen rotation upon Carlo’s exit midway through the second period.

    Even with Carlo, the Bruins struggled to contain Colorado’s speed. By the third, the Bruins began winning their share of one-on-one battles for puck possession, resulting in higher-quality primary and secondary scoring chances.

    Yet, the penalty trouble remained. Come crunch time, the Bruins needed another set of pivotal kills against Colorado’s variety of gifted offensive talents.

    “They’re just a dominant power play,” Marchand said. “They have so many weapons out there, and they move the puck extremely well. But we did a good job killing them off and getting to overtime.”

    The Avalanche power play notched a goal in the first when Nathan MacKinnon delivered a brilliant goal-line feed to Rantanen. Hampus Lindholm arrived late to the net-front area, providing Rantanen plenty of space to tap in his 21st of the season.

    As the game progressed, the Bruins used a next-man-up approach to deliver in crunch time. Whenever they ran into trouble clearing pucks out of harm, the Bruins turned to Swayman to provide another round of clutch stops, including his desperation save on Makar, to send Monday’s tilt into the extra session.

    “I just liked the desperation we had,” Montgomery said of the two third-period kills. “We did make a couple of mistakes, and thank god they didn’t capitalize on them…and thank god our goaltender made some fantastic saves.”

    Despite the loss, the Bruins established a building block to start their trip.


    With their talented forward group and a well-rounded defensive core, the Avalanche developed a knack for forcing opponents into self-inflicting mistakes.

    The Bruins succumbed to ill-timed turnovers and puck mismanagement against Colorado’s speed. After the first 40 minutes, the Avalanche held a noticable edge in shots on goal (17-9), shot attempts (41-17) and high danger scoring chances (10-3) during 5v5 play.

    Eventually, the Bruins returned to their forechecking identity to withstand Carlo’s exit and give themselves a shot at an unlikely victory.

    “Brando [Carlo] left early in the second, so we’re basically down to five D the rest of the way,” Montgomery said. “I thought we won more battles after the first period. I felt Colorado was really on top of us in the first, and I really felt we got to our puck possession game in the offensive zone.”

    They didn’t receive the desired result. But Monday once again showcased the Bruins’ never-say-die approach.

    As they address their issues — and await word on Carlo’s status — heading into Tuesday’s tilt in Arizona, the Bruins felt Monday’s effort provided a decent starting point for their second west coast trip of the year.

    “I’m really happy with the guys’ effort tonight,” Swayman said following his 33-save performance. “I know we wanted to start this trip off right, and that’s one way to do it.”

    Facebook Comments
    Tim Rosenthal

    Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.


    You Might also Like

    Leave a Comment