Bruins’ Marchand matures into player whose production doesn’t dive

“They wanted to try their best to get us off our game – a lot of scrums and cheap shots behind the play. But we wanted to stay away from that for the most part,” he said. “They sucked a couple guys in there early on. But after that we wanted to kind of settle down and get back to the way we were playing before and kind of get away from that stuff.”

There was no telling if Marchand would ever get away from that stuff as he was honing his skills with the Providence farm club, let alone do it for Boston on the biggest postseason stage. Always an irascible sort, Marchand showed more of a knack for penalties at the worst times, even during his brief Boston stint last season, than for timely goals and smart agitating.

That all changed early this season he got on a line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton and helped make Boston’s energy line into an offensive threat. From there, he went on to score 21 regular-season goals and establish himself as the left winger on the line with Bergeron and Mark Recchi. The future Hall-of-Fame right winger has been impressed by Marchand’s blossoming.

“Marchand seemed to really get some confidence from [playing with Campbell and Thornton] and then he just kept evolving as the year went on and more and more confidence,” said Recchi. “You can just see it out there. He controls the puck. He controls the play. He plays with a lot of energy and you need guys like that.”

To beat Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference finals, and maybe even win one more round to capture that ever-elusive Stanley Cup, the Bruins will need Marchand to contribute in a lot of ways.

None, though, involve giveaways, penalties or dives. They all involve him continuing to mature.

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