A popular topic for debate since the Bruins’ collective 9-1 thumping of the Penguins in Pittsburgh is whether, after just two games, the series is effectively over.
One subject featuring no mystery, however, is Brad Marchand’s postseason prowess.
The team’s regular season goals and points leader got off to a slow start against the Maple Leafs in the opening round – when he produced just three assists and was largely ineffective – but the infuriating-to-play-against winger has rediscovered his old self and vaulted into the top five in playoff scoring among the B’s with four goals, seven assists and 11 points through 14 games. In the process, he has also brought back the pestering persona opponents and their fans loathe. It’s an act rivaled only by, well, his acting.
Marchand’s performance over the last five weeks – the two most important goals of the night in Game 2 against the Penguins, the game-winning overtime goal versus the Rangers in that series opener, his assist on Patrice Bergeron’s winner to oust Toronto, just to pick a few – should come as no surprise. It’s just what he does.
Remember the 2011 postseason? Of course you do. Marchand, an NHL freshman at the time, ranked second on the Bruins in goals with 11, third in points at 19, and he contributed a plus-12 rating in 25 games. The biggest of all came in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals against Vancouver when he buried two goals and added an assist in a 4-0 road shutout to get the Duck Boats parading through Boston. In that series, he registered five goals and two assists – all in the final five games. He also turned Daniel Sedin into a punching bag.
Go ahead and take a quick trip down Memory Lane.
For many Bruins fans, that’s when his legend really began, despite a Seventh Player Award winning rookie campaign during the regular season. The year prior, he was just some little guy with one career NHL point in 20 games who sat and watched the 2010 meltdown from the press level, patiently waiting for his turn. Tough to imagine these days, isn’t it?
Those who have followed the B’s 2006 third-round pick over his career know all too well, though, that playoff time is when Marchand thrives.
Way back in 2006, the now 25-year-old’s second junior season with the QMJHL’s Wildcats, Marchand led Moncton to a President’s Cup championship and runner-up honors in the Memorial Cup tournament, thanks to 19 points in 20 games.
The following season with the Val d’Or Foreurs, he amassed postseason digits that can only be described as wicked awesome. Try this on for size: 16 goals, 24 assists, 40 points in 20 games. That’s half the point-total he produced during the entire regular season. His club once again reached the President’s Cup finals, where they lost through no fault of Marchand’s.
A year later, as a member of his third QMJHL team in as many seasons, Marchand helped guide Halifax to a round shy of another President’s Cup finals appearance. He was instrumental in the Mooseheads’ success with 19 points in 14 games.
Having already long taken notice, the Bruins finally got to capitalize on Marchand’s efforts for the first time in 2009 when he was a rookie with the Providence Bruins. He took the P-Bruins all the way to the AHL’s final four before falling in five games to the eventual champion Hershey Bears. Along the way, he scored seven goals and assisted on eight others in 16 contests.
Marchand’s been damn near a point-per-game performer every single year, save for last season when the B’s bowed out in the first round to the Capitals and his only two points of the series came in one outing. It was an anomaly, and he’s once again proving so. I’d bet his parents could probably provide some jaw-dropping postseason stories from his days as a mite or pee-wee, too.
Big game players do big game things. There’s a reason he was also a two-time gold medal winner for Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships in 2007 and 2008. Marchand flourishes on the grandest of stages.
Speaking of stages, if all goes well, we’ll see him on one in a few weeks. If we’re lucky, it’ll look something like this.
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About this blog
Adam Kaufman is a writer and broadcaster who can also be heard regularly on 98.5 The Sports Hub, WBZ NewsRadio 1030, the national CBS Sports Radio Network, and broadcasting Boston College hockey games. The Massachusetts native is a Syracuse grad and a pop culture fanatic who offers a unique and entertaining look at your favorite Boston sports teams. Please don't hold his love for Jean-Claude Van Damme movies against him.
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