Marchand eager to end suspension
SUNRISE, Fla. - Tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum, Brad Marchand will be in a suit and tie for what he hopes will be the last time in a while.
Marchand served the fourth of his five-game suspension for clipping Sami Salo last night at the BankAtlantic Center. Marchand will be eligible to play Thursday against New Jersey.
“It’s always tough watching your team play,’’ Marchand said after a grueling morning skate yesterday. “Fortunately, the five games are in a very short period of time. That’s one good way to look at it. They’ve pushed me hard after practices and during workouts to make sure I’m ready when I come back.’’
Marchand shouldn’t need many shifts to find his rhythm. The left wing has been with the club on its road trip instead of working out on his own in Boston. During practices and morning skates, Marchand has been taking shifts with linemates Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin. Following on-ice sessions, Marchand has remained on the ice for extra conditioning work.
When he returns, the Bruins will need Marchand’s energy sooner rather than later.
Benoit Pouliot has been serviceable as Marchand’s replacement, and he scored in last Tuesday’s 5-3 win over Winnipeg.
But Marchand’s absence affects the team in just about every area. He had been the left wing on the club’s most consistent line. He had been killing penalties alongside Bergeron. He was taking some shifts on the No. 2 power-play unit. In turn, Pouliot, Chris Kelly, and Rich Peverley had developed chemistry on the third line.
It’s probably not a coincidence the Bruins’ play has slipped without Marchand.
“Things just aren’t really coming together,’’ Marchand said. “It’s been a long couple weeks. We’ve had a lot of games in a short span of time. Guys might be getting worn down a bit. It’s a pretty grueling schedule. We just have to find the will and the battle to push a little harder when we’re getting tired.’’
When Marchand returns, he’ll have to monitor his performance. The agitator has been suspended twice and fined once. If Marchand even hints at making a questionable play, he could be in line for supplemental discipline once more as a repeat offender.
“Next time in the same situation, I might have to try something else,’’ Marchand said.
Peverley absent; Hamill in
Peverley didn’t play last night and likely will not be available tonight against the Lightning. Peverley returned to Boston Sunday because of a personal matter. According to coach Claude Julien, Peverley is expected to rejoin the team in New Jersey in time for Thursday’s game.
Zach Hamill replaced Peverley on the third line.
Before last night, Hamill had been a healthy scratch for two straight games. The coaching staff preferred Kelly to center the No. 3 trio and Jordan Caron to be the third-line left wing. With Peverley skating well on the right side, Hamill was the odd man out.
Horton hears a boo
Nathan Horton had only one shot in 16:39 of ice time. The ex-Panther has landed only one shot in each of the past three games. “Horts has got to pick up his game. No ifs or buts about it,’’ Julien said. “A guy his size has got to get more physically involved. He’s got to compete a lot harder. He’s skating hard. You see him on the backcheck, he skates hard. But we need more from him. At the same time, when he’s emotionally engaged, he scores goals. He’s a difference-maker. He’s got to find his game.’’ . . . David Krejci’s 11-game scoring streak came to an end last night. Krejci had one shot in 19:27 of ice time, although he scored the winning goal in the shootout . . . Daniel Paille fought Ed Jovanovski in the first period. Jovanovski caught Paille with an elbow during a puck race. Paille didn’t like it, but said Jovanovski asked to fight. Both removed their helmets and tangled in a brief scrap. Jovanovski suffered an upper-body injury in the fight and didn’t return.