For the Boston Bruins, injuries have seen two of their best players taken out of the lineup. Patrice Bergeron last suited up in their road loss against the Buffalo Sabres on February 25th. It was then announced that he was likely to miss two weeks with fractures in his foot. Charlie McAvoy played just 37 seconds when Boston played host to the Montreal Canadiens on March 3rd. And then on Tuesday, March 6th, the team announced he had a sprained MCL and would miss four weeks. If that wasn’t enough, on Wednesday, March 7th the NHL Department of Player Safety handed down a three-game suspension to David Backes for his hit on Frans Nielsen during the Bruins game against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.
Some critical players out when it comes to the Bruins scoring along with their defense. And yet, the Bruins have a five-game winning streak, having not lost since the Buffalo game. With one exception—their blow out of eight goals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the other four games have been one goal differentials. And the last three wins have come off the stick of Brad Marchand. The wins against Montreal and Detroit came in overtime, while Thursday’s game-winner got past Flyer’s Alex Lyon with 22 seconds remaining in regulation.
The game against the Philadelphia Flyers was a bit of a struggle. Of course, when the Bruins found themselves killing a double minor just 1:29 into the game—the result of a high sticking penalty on Kevan Miller—it was a bit of a foreshadowing as to how the game would go. Nine seconds into the first two-minute penalty Jakub Voracek put the Flyers on the scoreboard. The Bruins were able to kill the second two minutes, but the Flyers put some shots on netminder Tuukka Rask. Six minutes into the game, the Flyers had seven shots on net, while the Bruins had managed only one.
Additional penalties would be called on both teams, though neither team would capitalize. For Boston, they would go 0-3 on the man advantage, their power play continuing to be less than impressive, perhaps in part due to the lack of Bergeron.
Riley Nash and Brian Gionta scored during the first period, to put the Bruins up 2-1 going into the intermission. Nash’s goal was the result of gritty determination hanging around the crease—something the Bruins could work to do more of. Gionta’s goal was on a breakaway in which he managed to freeze Lyon before deking to put it in the net off a backhand shot.
Jori Lehtera tied things up 7:21 into the second, a shorthanded goal that just emphasizes the Bruins’ current struggles on the power play. And that was where the score would stall. Most everyone watching was expecting to see the game go to overtime, but Marchand was single-minded. And when David Pastrnak managed to get the puck behind Lyon, but not over the goal line, Marchand, from the other side of the net, got his stick in sending the puck into the net and denying the Flyers even a point despite a hard-fought game on their part.
Marchand is only the seventh player in Bruins’ history to have three consecutive game-winning goals. The last player to do it was Tyler Seguin, between November 5-10, 2011.
“Yeah, he just keeps on ticking,” Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said about Marchand after the game. “He seems like he’s on a bit of a mission with [Bergeron] out that he wants to put the team up in the offensive part of it. He got frustrated tonight with a couple calls, that one went against him and one didn’t. He thought he was held on the shorty, but at the end of the day, just kept plugging away, refocused, and he does a good job for us.”
Marchand was also wearing the “A” showing the trust his coaches have in him while Backes and Bergeron are out.
“Yeah, you know, it was nice. It shows the confidence that they have, and you know, it’s a great honor. So, anytime you’re allowed to put that on it feels really good, but I wish I would have played better with it on and hopefully I’ll be better next game,” he shared.
And he takes his role seriously, while still humbly acknowledging the efforts of his fellow teammates. He doesn’t feel that he is on a mission, other than the one that he shares with all the other guys on the team.
“I think we all have to carry the load a bit. I think we’re all feeling that,” Marchand responded in regard to the team being without Bergeron. “You know, it’s very hard missing a guy like like him and McAvoy, and now [Backes] for a few games. It’s tough to replace them, so, you know, I think we all feel that a bit and have to step up.”
Marchand now has 29 goals on the season, with five of them having been notched in the past three games. But more importantly three of those were the deciding factor in whether or not the Bruins took the two points.
Hear what Marchand had to say after the game: