Brad Marchand is finally back tonight, and not a moment too soon for the fledgling Bruins.
Marchand, who served the final game of his five-game suspension Tuesday, will be in the lineup against the Devils Thursday night in New Jersey (7 p.m., NESN).
"It's always tough to watch the team play, it's very frustrating," Marchand said Wednesday. "I'm excited to get back, jump back in and hopefully help anyway I can … Go in and create energy like I try to do, continue to play my game and carry on where we left off." Where the Bruins left off upon Marchand’s early exit against the Canucks 12 days ago and where they stand tonight are very different places.
The Bruins had been 9-1 in their previous 10 games before Marchand’s infamous clip of Sami Salo resulted in a game misconduct and the winning power-play goal for Vancouver.
It also led to the five-game suspension that ended Tuesday. The Bruins went 3-3 in those six games, their worst six-game stretch since October.
But don’t count Bruins coach Claude Julien among those who believe the re-introduction tonight of Marchand and Rich Peverly -- who missed the past two games due to a personal matter –will automatically awake the Bruins from their slumber.
"It’s more an issue what we have on the ice then what we have off the ice," Julien said. “If anything, you like your guys to play through those situations, and normally we would. We’re not playing the way we should. If everybody was and we were competing the way we could, those things wouldn’t be an issue.”
Julien has been rattling the Bruins’ cage virtually every day since last Saturday’s loss to Carolina, when the Bruins allowed three unanswered third-period goals in a 4-2 loss. He called out Nathan Horton specifically before Tuesday’s game against Tampa Bay, and Horton responded with two goals. But the Bruins still dropped a 5-3 decision to a conference bottom-feeder.
Not what Julien wants to see with East elite Rangers and Flyers coming up after tonight’s game at New Jersey. “I would say our work ethic and our compete level weren’t there,” Julien said. “When we don’t compete we’re a very ordinary team. I think that’s what we are right now. It really is about everybody.
“Accountability is something we talk about coming from within and we need that to happen again to turn the corner.”