It took eight games, 30 periods, and 144 minutes of ice time, but the wait is over. Brad Marchand’s overtime goal — his first of the Stanley Cup playoffs — lifted the Bruins over the Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, 3-2, Thursday night at the Garden.
After leading the Bruins with 18 goals in the truncated season, the left winger had been stymied by the Maple Leafs in the first round and, through three periods, the Rangers.
But with 4:40 left in overtime, he managed to get just enough space, thanks to a poke check by Zdeno Chara and a quick pass from Patrice Bergeron, to bury a shot and end his drought, putting the Bruins up 1-0 in the series.
“It’s always frustrating,” Marchand said. “But there’s so many other areas of the game that you want to do well in. It was nice to get that first one so hopefully they keep coming.”
Marchand had left the Bruins morning skate early with what coach Claude Julien termed a minor issue. But there was still concern about his availability. The third-year player remarked afterward that he just hates morning skates and needed to get his legs underneath him. He felt better Thursday night.
“I might just have to [skip more practices],” Marchand joked.
“I felt good tonight. I felt pretty good last game, too. Obviously the Toronto series wasn’t my best series, but I felt good tonight and just want to keep building on it.
“It’s kind of a blur,” Marchand said. “From the second it goes in to see everybody jump on the ice and surround you, it’s a bit of a blur. Obviously a huge adrenaline rush and very excited.”