Brad Marchand working through a late-season slump

He extended his goal drought to nine straight games following Thursday's 4-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Brad Marchand extended his goal drought to nine straight games following Thursday's 4-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Charles Krupa/AP Photo

Given the slew of injuries over the past few weeks, the Boston Bruins haven’t performed all that poorly. But they know they have room for improvement in their five tuneup games before the playoffs.

With David Pastrnak, Hampus Lindholm, Linus Ullmark, and a handful of other players in and out of the injury list the past few weeks, the Bruins tried to turn to their leaders to right the ship. Yet, they’ve witnessed one of their top playmakers in Brad Marchand embark on the worst slump of his season.

A frustrated Marchand extended his goal drought to nine straight games following Thursday’s 4-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.


“I haven’t been overly happy with my game the last little while,” Marchand told the press following the morning skate at PPG Paints Arena. “Typically when that happens, the only thing to do is work through it. So it was good to get out there, touch the puck, feel it and get a skate. I had some fun out there playing 2-on-2 with the other guys, and that was the only reason I was out there.”

Marchand alluded to participating in an optional skate Wednesday morning, a day removed from Boston’s 3-2 overtime win in St. Louis. He returned the following morning for the full team skate before the B’s final regular-season matchup with the Pens.

A passive Marchand of late took the shooting advice to heart after firing eight of the team’s 52 shots on net. He even generated a couple of quality looks on Boston’s struggling power play, but the Bruins couldn’t get one puck past Casey DeSmith.

“Our [power play] obviously has not been very good lately,” Marchand said. “With [Pastrnak], he’s such a threat all the time. Teams focus on him and open up other areas, where now they’re kind of sitting on [Patrice Bergeron] a lot more and collapsing in front.”


Amid Marchand’s frustration, television cameras caught Bergeron embracing his longtime linemate on the bench. The captain was there for affirmation as the edgy Marchand kept his emotions in check amid his latest rough patch.

“I guess this one was on TV, but it’s not like it’s the first time that we’re doing that. We’ve been around with each other long enough to have a good read for each other,” Bergeron said to reporters. “Obviously, he’s one of those guys that plays on the edge and tries to get us in the fight. Sometimes you got to make sure he doesn’t get over that line. It’s something that’s happened in the past. It’s something that you guys might have seen tonight, but it’s nothing new.”

Even a skilled player like Marchand isn’t immune to slumps. Yet, the Bruins hope their primary alternate captain returns to form, with Pastrnak, Lindholm, and Ullmark all closer to rejoining the lineup.

The Bruins will have a formidable first-round opponent regardless of the results in their final five games. Getting Marchand back on track, staying healthy, and fine-tuning their traits remain their top priorities.


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