Brad Marchand has been nothing but consistent for the Boston Bruins over the last few regular seasons and entered the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs coming off his first 100-point campaign. Marcahnd has become the Bruins’ best offensive player, a leader, and arguably the best pest in the entire NHL. He’s a core member of the Bruins and they wouldn’t have come anywhere close to a Stanley Cup without him in 2019. Great players can have bad nights though and unfortunately, one bad moment can singlehandedly alter a game’s outcome. Unfortunately for Marchand, he had one of the worst single moments of his career in Wednesday night’s Game 7 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
“The more you think about it, I think it just gets harder,” said Marchand. “You start to pick apart everything that you’d like to change. You start thinking about the ‘What ifs.’ It just makes it tough. This is going to hurt forever. You’re never going to get over it.
With just seconds left in the first period, Marchand went for a change after Jaden Schwartz dumped the puck into the zone around him and instead of staying with the play until the final horn, Marchand elected to make a rather lazy line change. Schwartz quickly recovered the puck and found Alex Pietrangelo just over the blueline. The St. Louis captain made a beautiful move and deposited the eventual game-winner behind Tuukka Rask. After a dominant first period for Boston, this goal was seemed to serve as the back-breaker. For all intents and purposes, it can easily be argued that Game 7 ended in those final seconds of the opening frame.
Marchand didn’t hide on Friday when the Bruins held their annual end of season media day. He called the goal a “backbreaking goal” and said he “regrets” the decision he made that led to the tally. It’s a decision that one of Boston’s best players will have to live with all summer long, likely longer.
“There are a few things there [on the play]. A little more awareness to know there were only seven seconds left. I just would have been more aware of the guys coming up the ice because I thought [Jaden Schwartz] was all by himself. I thought the play was dead, but it obviously wasn’t. It was a bad read and I could have read the situation a little differently. That was the difference. One play can really change the outcome of a game. Unfortunately, it was costly.”
Not only does Marchand regret the decision to change, but he also regrets his inability to provide a spark and impact the game. All season and throughout the playoffs until the Final, Marchand dominated and made a difference for Boston. In the biggest game of the season and biggest for him since Game 6 against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, it was Marchand’s blunder that would dominate the headlines after. Marchand battled multiple injuries but he realizes no one will remember that and he also knows as he has before, he still could’ve delivered in the clutch despite being injured.
“It’s definitely something you think about,” Marchand said. “Part of why we’re such a good group is that we all expect to be good in the big moments and we all expect to come through. I think personally I definitely have that thought where I would have liked to have been the guy that would be a difference-maker…be better in that situation. That’s how it plays out sometimes.”