Just a little rough spot
Marchand atoned for a bad penalty
Brad Marchand is only 23 years old, and he is the first to acknowledge that he still has room to grow as a hockey player.
During the Bruins’ 4-3 win over New Jersey last night, the inexperience in Marchand’s game was on display.
But so to were the lessons he’s already learned in his year-plus as an NHL regular.
Marchand earned a spot in coach Claude Julien’s doghouse in the second period.
New Jersey was in the process of breaking out of its own zone, opting to work the puck up the left boards.
Marchand, responsible for the right half-wall on the forecheck, moved off toward the center of the ice. On his way, the winger met with the Devils’ Adam Henrique about 35 feet from the puck.
The winger gave Henrique a shove right in front of the official, and was promptly charged with a roughing minor at 9:07. Marchand then tried picking a fight with Henrique, but the New Jersey center paid no heed. Marchand trekked to the box alone, having failed to trick the Devil into joining him.
The penalty proved costly. After Johnny Boychuk’s delay-of-game call put New Jersey on a five-on-three, David Clarkson one-timed a go-ahead goal past Tim Thomas for a 1-0 lead.
“I took a bad penalty there and they scored on it,’’ Marchand said. “It’s a learning process when things like that happen. You’re going to pay for it sometimes.’’
Following the roughing minor - his second penalty of the game - Marchand didn’t see another shift in the second period. Benoit Pouliot replaced him on Patrice Bergeron’s wing at even strength, and Chris Kelly claimed his spot when the Bruins went on the power play late in the frame.
“It was a message sent that he can’t put us in that situation,” Julien said. “He is a guy who plays on the edge. Every once in a while, he crosses that line. It’s what makes him a good player, but at the same time, it can hurt his hockey team.’’
The penalties, especially the roughing minor, showcased the aspects of Marchand’s game that still need to be refined - toeing the line between aggressive and excessive is a daunting task for most young NHLers.
It also gave him a chance to show off the veteran polish he’s acquired over his 138 NHL games.
Marchand didn’t pout or shout at the benching. Julien didn’t say a word to Marchand, and Marchand didn’t mouth off.
“I didn’t want to hang my head,’’ Marchand said. “I wanted to go and show I could be better.’’
“The character that he has, he didn’t say a word,’’ Julien said. “That’s what I like about Brad. He takes responsibility. When he’s given a chance, he answers properly.’’
Marchand didn’t have to wait long after the intermission for redemption.
The winger returned to his spot on Bergeron’s wing for the opening faceoff of the third period, and needed just six seconds to undo the damage from his blunder.
Bergeron won the draw back to Zdeno Chara, and Chara slipped a stride-hitter to Marchand as he sliced between defenders Adam Larsson and Andy Greene.
Marchand strode solo to the hashes, and went forehand on goalie Johan Hedberg to break a 1-1 tie.
The breakaway look was Marchand’s second of the game. In the first period, he had a similar look at Hedberg, and tried his luck with a backhander. Hedberg stifled the try with a brilliant glove save.
“I wanted to shoot,’’ Marchand said. “I tried to go backhand and he made a really good save on me, so I figured I’d just shoot it. It worked out.’’
Marchand’s final line was impressive beyond the goal. He turned in three of his game-high five shots in the third.
He also led all skaters with five hits in his 16:13 of ice time.