BOSTON – It’s always a wild ride with Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand, but it usually ends in victory for the Black and Gold.
That was the case in Wednesday night’s 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens when Marchand scored two goals in 15 seconds in the first period to stun the Habs and finished with a hat trick that put an exclamation point on Boston’s sixth win in seven tries coming out of the COVID/Holiday break.
The offensive explosion leaves Marchand with three straight multi-goal games and one short of Phil Esposito’s team record while also scoring eight goals overall in his last four games amidst a team-wide offensive explosion.
Marchand also became just the sixth player in Bruins history with more than one goal in three consecutive contests, joining Phil Esposito (five times), Cam Neely, Dit Clapper, Carson Cooper, and longtime linemate Patrice Bergeron in the exclusive club. The goal barrage arrives as a reminder to Marchand that he needs to be a finisher for a Boston Bruins hockey club that is sometimes unselfish to a fault.
“I don’t think that’s ever an issue for him, getting inside,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “I think we have to remind Brad that he’s a goal scorer at times. Particularly since pucks run through him on the power play. There’ll be stretches five-on-five then he starts deferring and looking for plays, and I think we sometimes are like, ‘Hey, you’re a goal scorer. Get to the dirty areas. When it’s your turn to shoot, shoot.’ Not that there was much question on those [hat trick] goals.”
Perhaps the best part of it all was, as Cassidy referenced, that all three of Marchand’s goals were scored within 10 feet of the net whether he was slamming one home from the back post, whacking a bouncing puck out of the air or crashing the net for a shorthanded rebound chance. It was Boston’s best player practicing what the team has been preaching about creating an inside presence and wreaking havoc around the front of the net, even if it’s coming from a 5-foot-9 winger that’s one of the smallest on the ice.
“”I think as a group we’ve all been focusing on it more recently,” said Marchand, about a teamwide mentality of crashing the net. “It’s something that we’ve had to add to our game. We were getting a lot of shots early on in the season; I think we were one of the top teams getting shots on net. A majority of goals in this league are scored from there.
“So, we had to get some more guys in front, get rebounds there, get in front of the net, and focus a little bit more on being around there. Our group’s been doing that since the break’s been over, and I think it’s really paying off for us right now. We have to keep that going.”
Marchand is setting the tone in many different areas for the Black and Gold with a team-leading 19 goals and 39 points in 28 games that has him on pace for 47 goals and 97 points this season. But he’s also bringing energy and keeping it light for the rest of his teammates, whether it’s him accidentally swearing while on a hot mic pregame or picking up a hot pink straw cowboy hat as his chapeau of choice following his fifth career hat trick.
“I mean, the hat speaks for itself,” said Marchand. “It just has sexy written all over it.”
Interesting hat choice for Brad Marchand after scoring the three goals pic.twitter.com/Svu3R2Qlpg
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) January 13, 2022
One other thing that speaks for itself: The greatness of Marchand’s game this season as he leads a Boston Bruins team pushing up in the standings. The B’s left winger has shown in the past that he’s capable of carrying the B’s offense for stretches at a time and he’s doing that right now for the surging Bruins.