BOSTON — The last time the Bruins skated in a game on home ice, they capped their 4-1 victory over Atlanta with a line brawl that most agree was a bonding experience for a slumping squad.
Tonight they’ll try to muster the same amount of energy and emotion they used against Atlanta last month and throughout their 3-0-2 road trip when they host the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden.
Amazingly, winger Brad Marchand — Boston’s resident mega-pest — wasn’t around to participate in the physical festivities that night .He was out of the lineup because of “general soreness” that kept him on the sidelines for a total of three games.
“It was pretty rough,” Marchand said today after the Bruins’ optional morning skate about watching that game in a suit. “Those are always fun games to be in, especially when a fight like that happens. But also especially because everyone played so well and was flying out there.”
Marchand returned to the lineup Dec. 28 at Tampa Bay. He scored a goal that night and now has two goals in his last four. However, Monday night’s win in Toronto was an off night for Marchand and his “Merlot Line” mates Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell. The trio didn’t generate enough through two periods to earn more than one shift of third-period action and all three players finished with less than nine minutes of ice time logged.
Over the course of this season, ineffective nights have been rare by Boston’s energy line. And when they have occurred, the next game usually serves as a bounce-back performance by the Bruins’ gritty trio.
“They probably didn’t have their best game. At the same time I think this is a line that has been very good for us, and we know that they’re going to bring something to our team on most nights,” said head coach Claude Julien after the skate.
With Marchand’s soreness a thing of the past and Campbell that much stronger some four days removed from missing two games with an illness, Marchand and the “Merlot Line” should be ready to pour it on against the Wild.