Marchand continues to be wrapped up in scoring
Earlier in the season, if there was a way to describe Brad Marchand, it was agitator. Or feisty. Or in-your-face. You get the picture.
But as of late, the most accurate description of the 22-year-old Bruins winger is point producer. Marchand scored the first goal in last night’s 2-1 victory over the Panthers at TD Garden. In his last 11 games, Marchand has collected 11 points. He has four goals in his last five games and has 13 on the season, fourth on the team. Last night, he matched his goal output from last season in 34 games with Providence.
Marchand credited linemates Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi with helping him find his scoring groove.
“I think a lot of it has to do with Bergy and Rex,’’ he said. “It’s pretty easy when you’re playing with those guys.’’
Marchand’s goal — or at least the way he scored it — was unplanned. Bergeron dished a pass in the left circle and Marchand had a shot but elected not to take it. Instead, he bore through the circle and around the net, beating Tomas Vokoun on a wraparound at the right post. His shot went off the stick of Florida’s Stephen Weiss before trickling over the goal line.
“I kind of panicked,’’ acknowledged Marchand. “I had a wide-open net to shoot at, I just didn’t shoot. I came around the net and I was kind of panicked and I was like, ‘I’d better score this or I’m going to get ragged on.’ ’’
Despite the short-lived panic, part of the reason Marchand has strung together such an impressive offensive surge is confidence. He now believes he can contribute offensively on a consistent basis.
“[The confidence] is up there right now,’’ he said. “It’s feeling pretty good but playing with Bergy and Rex, you get lots of opportunities and I’m getting some lucky bounces and stuff.’’
Marchand wasn’t sure what the expectations were for him going into the season but he thought he might be able to reach 10 goals.
“I don’t think anyone even thought that I might score 10,’’ he said. “It’s nice to kind of have a little offensive flair here and there, but I don’t care what anyone says, I have to go and work hard and whatever happens, that’s how it goes. I thought I might be able to score 10, I knew I could. Last year, I could have had a bunch. They just weren’t going in. I knew if I kept getting those opportunities, they were eventually going to go in. There’s still lots of hockey left, so I plan on getting a few more.’’
With Marc Savard sidelined indefinitely because of another concussion, Marchand’s ability to chip in offensively becomes even more important.
“Losing Savvy, it’s such a huge blow to our team, he’s such a great player,’’ said Marchand. “Everyone has to step up and pitch in a little more, whether it’s chipping pucks in or out or making sure you win battles. Everyone has to pitch in a little more.’’
In addition to his play, he said there is plenty of optimism as the team heads into the All-Star break.
“We’re feeling great right now,’’ he said. “We had a 10-game segment there that we kind of wanted to run after, and we got seven of the last 10, so we’re feeling pretty good. We have a great spot going into the All-Star break and we have to make sure we come back hungry and ready to go.’’
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.