Much has been made about Brad Marchand‘s inability to put the puck in the net this postseason or at least as of late. The pesky Bruins winger hasn’t scored since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against Pittsburgh, a two-goal effort in which he scored twice in the first period of the B’s 6-1 win.
Since then, however, Marchand has gone cold. While he’s far from alone — linemate Jaromir Jagr still hasn’t scored since April 21 — the Bruins need something out of Marchand.
He played a pivotal offensive role in 2011, especially in the Stanley Cup Final. Marchand scored four goals and added two assists in the club’s seven-game series win over Vancouver.
Marchand does have four goals and nine assists this postseason, but he’s been held pointless in the Cup Final. When Marchand does score, however, the Bruins tend to be successful. For his career, the B’s are 12-1 in games he scores a goal in.
Maybe the desperation of a Game 6 with Boston’s back up against the wall will get Marchand to break out. In six do-or-die games for his career, the forward has three goals and three assists. They have won all three of those games, including two in the 2011 Cup Final when they faced the same scenario they’re facing now. Marchand scored once in the Bruins’ Game 6 win, and he then scored two goals and added an assist in the deciding Game 7 win.
“Well, if he’s going to be a streaky player I would hope that streak starts [in Game 6],” Bruins coach Claude Julien said Sunday after the team returned from Chicago. “I don’t think he’s played terrible, but certainly he knows he can play better. But a lot of our guys do, too. We all need to be better in order to get ourselves back into this series here. We feel confident that we can.”
Marchand may not have to look far for inspiration. While he may not be of the same skill as Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, Marchand has shown a Kane-like ability to put the puck in the net for the course of his career. Kane, who has been streak as any this postseason, is one of the biggest reasons the Blackhawks are a win away from the Stanley Cup. After being held without a goal through the first three games of the series, Kane has emerged once again as a go-to player for Chicago. He has three goals and an assist in the last two games, both wins for the Blackhawks.
“You go through bumps along the way, and you fight through it,” Julien added. “Just have to look at the other team. They have guys that haven’t produced and they started producing. If we can do the same thing, then we’re going to get ourselves back into it.”
Not only has Marchand been kept off the score sheet for the most part, he’s also been neutralized in terms of what he’s been able to do after the whistles. He thrives on getting into it after the play ends in order to get under the skin of the opposition, as well as jump-start his own offense. For whatever reason, whether it’s for lack of effort or good discipline from the Blackhawks, that part of Marchand’s game has been missing as well, aside from a late-game “fight” with Andrew Shaw.
It’s time for him and the rest of the Bruins to step up. And if it doesn’t start Monday night in Game 6, the Bruins will be done. It’s that simple. And with the uncertainty surrounding Patrice Bergeron, Marchand’s not alone in needing to be better. The B’s will certainly take a better showing out of him, Jagr or Tyler Seguin to name a few.
“They’ve got to do their share of saying, you know what, it’s my responsibility,” Julien said following morning skate Monday. “Accountability in our dressing room is very important. I need to help our team out and my teammates and everybody. So it comes from both sides. I think it’s a mutual thing that has to — a little bit from the coaches to either showing some positive things or show them where they can be better in order for them to have a bigger impact.
“Then it’s up to them to go out there and do it.”