Lightning series making Marchand seem a mere mortal

Marchand/By S. Bradley

BOSTON — Brad Marchand is still scoreless in the Bruins’ Eastern Conference Final with Tampa Bay.

And worse, his performance took a step backward in Game 4 yesterday.

The rookie winger failed to fire a shot on net in the Bruins’ 5-3 loss, which allowed the Lightning to even up the series before tomorrow night’s Game 5. Marchand, a 21-goal scorer in the regular season, registered four shots on goal in the Bruins’ Game 3 and seemed on the cusp of finally breaking through for his first goal or point in the series.

“I think it’s just one of those nights where I wasn’t getting the opportunities,” he said today about Game 4 during an off day at the TD Garden. “I think I had four or five the night before and it was just one of those nights. I think it’s one of those times where you have to find a way to make plays and make things happen. But I didn’t do my job last night.”

Marchand also failed to do his job when he hit Steven Stamkos late behind the Lightning net on the forecheck in the second period. It was a borderline call that left the Bruins shorthanded. Marchand, whose job it is to agitate the Lightning but not wind up in the penalty box, didn’t agree with the call.

“I didn’t think I crossed the line. The way the puck was coming around, two guys in the corner missed it and it was going right toward Stamkos,” he said. “I don’t know if it something or what, but I thought he touched it so I made the hit. I didn’t see the replay, but I was told it hit something and kind of got stopped up a bit.”

As for drawing a retaliation penalty on Stamkos, who responded to the hit with a crosscheck to Marchand’s back, the Boston forward wasn’t surprised things weren’t evened out.

“I kind of fell pretty easy there. But the refs aren’t going to do be any favors by calling any penalties for me,” he said.

No one’s going to do Marchand any favors to get him on the score sheet either. He has to pick up his level of play — like the rest of his teammates — duplicate the effort he made on the forecheck to force Victor Hedman’s giveaway on Patrice Bergeron’s first goal of Game 4.

“We want to keep moving the puck ahead and try not give them a whole lot of time and space. [Dennis Seidenberg] made a great pass to get it up to me and I just tipped it ahead,” recalled Marchand. “I saw Hedman going behind the net and I just tried to follow him around in front and Bergie did a great job of reading the reverse.”

“We want to be hard on the forecheck,” he continued, “and make it hard on the Ds, make it difficult to make decisions under pressure.”

That’s a major part of the job Marchand has to do for the Bruins to prevail in what is now a best-of-three series.

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