Marchand takes simple approach
Injured center Marc Savard showed off his psychic abilities via Twitter from his Peterborough, Ontario, home, by predicting a Bruins hot streak prior to the team’s 6-2 win over the Islanders Monday.
Before last night’s 6-3 win over Edmonton extended the Bruins’ win streak to four games, coach Claude Julien borrowed Savard’s crystal ball and predicted Brad Marchand’s nine-game goalless streak would soon come to an end.
Julien was right on the mark, as Marchand netted a pair of goals, his first since Oct. 12.
“A little bit like last year, it took him awhile to get himself going in the goal department,’’ Julien said after the morning skate. “When he starts scoring goals, they’re going to start coming a lot more frequently than they have since the start of the season.’’
Marchand not only snapped his streak, he doubled his goal output for the season. It was his longest goalless streak since a 12-gamer last March.
“It was nice to get the monkey off my back,’’ Marchand said. “It was definitely getting frustrating. I’ve been missing a lot of opportunities, so it was nice to get a couple.’’
Julien talked yesterday morning about the need for Marchand to play a simple, grinding game alongside skilled linemates Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron. Both of Marchand’s goals came from a simplified game plan.
Marchand’s first tally, at 3:50 of the second period, was his first power-play score since opening night against Philadelphia.
The 5-foot-9-inch winger posted himself against 6-3, 210-pound defenseman Ladislav Smid in the slot while Seguin and Joe Corvo worked the puck on the perimeter.
Corvo took a pass from Seguin at center point and wristed a waist-high saucer into Marchand’s screen. Marchand got solid wood on the shot, rerouting the puck from high on goalie Devan Dubnyk’s glove side to the lower stick side.
Marchand’s second tally, the Bruins’ last, drew the most praise from Julien. Marchand picked off an errant Edmonton pass in the neutral zone, circled to the left boards, and drove toward the cage.
As Marchand approached the left faceoff dot, Chris Kelly positioned himself just beyond the right post, tempting Marchand’s inner playmaker to try for a fancy assist.
But Marchand followed the advice Julien had given to him earlier in the week: shoot the puck. Marchand did just that, sniping the puck over Dubnyk’s right shoulder.
Marchand’s multigoal game was his first since Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. It also extended Marchand’s point streak to four games, which is, not coincidentally, also the length of Boston’s winning streak.
“The big thing is to keep it a little more simple. Get the puck to the net,’’ Marchand said. “I was getting lots of opportunities. They just weren’t going in. If you keep pushing, keeping getting opportunities, something’s going to go in. That’s what happened today.’’
Julien’s glowing words yesterday weren’t the same he’d used in private with the player who had 21 goals last season. The coach challenged the 23-year-old this week, telling him, “It’s looking like it’s going to be a tough year to get 20 [goals],’’ according to Marchand.
Marchand called the talk “a kick in the butt.’’ Last night, Julien’s boot was just as effective as his crystal ball.
“Sometimes guys try and do a little too much and they try to get a little fancy, and it doesn’t suit their game,’’ Julien said. “That’s Brad in a nutshell. He just has to play hard and use his speed to take pucks to the net and shoot it.’’
Jake Seiner can be reached at email@example.com.