Bruins: Marchand has become star before our eyes
It didn’t take long for Bruins left wing Brad Marchand to become a cult hero in Boston. As a rookie, he had 19 points (11 goals, eight assists) in the 2011 postseason when the B’s won their first Stanley Cup in 39 years and celebrated in an extended bar-hopping fashion that would make Rob Gronkowski blush (for a second at least).
The impressive thing, though, about Marchand is that he seemingly hasn’t let that great start go to his head as he scored 28 goals in 2012 (one behind Tyler Seguin for the team lead) and he has been on a tear to begin this season with a team-high 11 goals and six assists through 19 games. Combined with linemates Patrice Bergeron (five goals, 13 assists; NHL’s second star of the week) and Seguin (5 goals, 10 assists), they’ve been the most consistent forward line for Boston thus far. Bruins head coach Claude Julien has noticed Marchand’s spectacular play:
“He’s got a quick release and good shot, when we need a big goal, he seems to be able to find it. He’s a clutch player and the type of guy you like to have on your team.”
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that he’s been playing so well since at 5-foot-9 and 183 pounds, he’s probably been overlooked his whole professional career. Marchand is his own player, but he certainly fits the bill as a classic overachiever the likes of which you’ll find on any good team in virtually any team sport. What makes him particularly fun to watch is that he plays with an edge and snarl, plus he can chirp with the best of them.
It was a big weekend for Marchand, who potted the game-winner against Tampa Bay on Saturday afternoon (his fourth straight game-winner), then added a career-high three assists in the 4-3 loss to Montreal on Sunday night.
“He’s burying the puck and he’s playing well,” said Seguin after the 3-2 win vs. the Lightning. “He’s a guy that steps up when the team needs him and he’s a leader.”
Boston’s power play (9 for 61, 14.7 percent, 22nd in the NHL) is still terrible, but you can’t blame Marchand who has scored a team-high three of their nine goals. He is also plus-12, third best on the team, and his shooting percentage of 29.7 leads the NHL (for players that have appeared in more than half of their team’s games).
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate