PITTSBURGH, PA – It’s hard to tell whether it’s a slump, a touch of fatigue or the simple restlessness that goes on with the Stanley Cup playoffs so close to being here, but Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand knows his game isn’t currently in a great place.
The 33-year-old Brad Marchand has just one point in his last five games and just two assists in his last eight games and has produced just one goal in nine games during the month of April while coming off a 3-2 OT win over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night where he had zero shots on net. So on a Wednesday off day in Pittsburgh where nearly everybody that played against the Blues took the optional day away from getting on the ice, Marchand was out there skating with the healthy scratches and putting the work in.
It wasn’t setting an example for Marchand or sending any kind of message. It was simply a player that knows he can do more for a team that’s struggled to score 16 goals in the last seven games.
At this time of year, veterans that have logged his kind of ice time this season are staying off the ice when they can to rest up for the looming postseason. But that’s never been how Marchand has worked his way out of a slow offensive stretch, and that’s not something he’s going to start at this point in his career.
“I haven’t been overly happy with my game the last little while, and typically when that happens the only thing to do is work through it so it was good to get out there, touch the puck, feel it and get a skate in,” said Marchand. “I had some fun out there playing 2-on-2 with the other guys ad that was the only reason I was out there.”
🎥 Brad Marchand on participating in yesterday’s optional practice: “I haven’t been overly happy with my game the last little while, and typically when that happens the only thing to do is work through it so it was good to get out there, touch the puck and get a skate in.” pic.twitter.com/PVBKZENSmb
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) April 21, 2022
Marchand finds himself in an interesting spot as of late with David Pastrnak out of the lineup, as he becomes the shooting focal point of the PP as they’ve reversed to a mirror image for the lefty-shooting wing. It’s not something he’s entirely comfortable with given that the one-timer has never really been a consistent weapon for him during his brilliant NHL career, and that’s again the reason for getting some work in when everybody else was resting on Wednesday.
“Our PP has obviously not been very good lately,” said Marchand of the Boston Bruins man advantage, which is 0-for-27 in the seven games with Pastrnak out of the lineup. “And I have the puck a lot obviously, and the way teams are setting up lately we’re working on a little bit of where we see things that are open, and how we can attack from there.”
Time will tell if the extra work pays off for Marchand, but the first step to correcting a problem is admitting that there’s a problem in the first place. And Marchand’s presence on the ice during a late season optional practice definitely indicates there are things that No. 63 wants to upgrade about his current game.