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Murph’s Take: Marchand Putting Bruins Teammates On His Shoulders

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The Boston Bruins are smack back in their Eastern Quarterfinals series with the Carolina Hurricanes after a 5-2 win Sunday that sent the series back to Raleigh tied at two games apiece.

Brad Marchand led the Bruins with two goals and three assists, while his Perfection Line linemates also stayed hot. Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists and David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist.

While the entire Perfection Line has returned right to form after being reunited for Game 3, it has been Boston Bruins veteran winger Brad Marchand who is putting the team on his shoulders and leading the way. Marchand started off slow in the series. In fact, he had one of his worst games in recent memory going pointless and finishing Game 1 at a minus 3 in a 5-1 Bruins loss. He followed that with an assist in a 5-2 Bruins loss in Game 2.

While Marchand, and even his longtime linemate and Bergeron downplayed it after the win Sunday, the read here is that not only was their urgency entering Game 3 to get back in this series and not get swept or go down in five games (as this crow-eating scribe predicted they would), but to keep Bergeron’s career going, if, as many are speculating, this is his swan song after a 18-season hall of fame career.

After coming alive with a goal and two assists in a 4-2 win in Game 3, Marchand was stone-faced and all business. It was clear he wasn’t going to let his teammates get caught up in the joy of finally beating the Hurricanes after five tries and for the first time since the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“That’s the desperation that they’ve been playing with from Game 1 and that’s what we need to play with every day moving forward,” Brad Marchand pointed out following Game 4. “So it’s a good lesson for us to continue to learn and again we need to keep playing like that. They’re gonna elevate; they’re a good team, it’s what they’ve done all year; they know how to respond and I don’t think that was their best effort when you look at the games they played in Carolina versus [Friday], we know they’re going to be better so we have to better too.”

In a game where the Bruins were suddenly without defenseman Charlie McAvoy, the Bruins needed their leaders to lead again and that’s exactly what Marchand did. He also established a career high for a playoff game with a five-point outing in Game 4.

Marchand wasn’t just showing up on the point sheet. He was also using his pest skills to his and his team’s advantage, basically cooking dinner in the head of Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo.

While he’s always one of the smallest guys on the ice, Marchand can sure play big and he’s doing it again when this team needs it most.

“That’s just who he is,” Bergeron said of Marchand following the game. “He elevates his game and always finding a way to get better and takes it upon himself to help the team in any way he can. He always rises up to the occasion any time there’s a big moment and there’s no surprises there.”

Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy concurred.

“We talk about character, he’s got a letter on his sweater for a reason,” Cassidy said of Marchand. “He’s a battler. He’s been a competitive guy his whole life. He’s not going to get down too long. This is the time of year he loves to play. He’s shown that.

“Now you’re at home and you’ve got the crowd behind you that’s pushing you. You’ve got some animosity, now we’re in Game 3 and 4, there’s some chirping going on now, too, and that I think can elevate his game as well. It’s bright lights time, and I think Marshy has always been pretty good with that, and tonight it worked out really well for him.”

The lights will get even bigger in Game 5 and 6, and maybe even 7. There’s no doubt here that Marchand will keep carrying this team as he does his best to help win one more for Bergeron.

 

With 20 years of experience (SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPNBoston, NESN, NHL.com, etc.) covering the Bruins, the NHL, NCAA and junior hockey and more, Jimmy Murphy’s hockey black book is full of Hall of Famers, current players, coaches, management, scouts and a wide array of hockey media personalities that have lived in and around this great game. For 17 of his 20 years as a hockey and sports reporter, Murph covered the Bruins on essentially a daily basis covering their victorious 2011 Stanley Cup run and their 2013 run to the Final as well. Murphy has hosted national and local radio shows and podcasts and also has experience in TV as well.

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