BOSTON — Brad Marchand nearly assisted on a Steven Stamkos goal in the first period tonight.
Luckily for the rookie, Andrew Ference chased down the speedster to take a crosschecking penalty and prevent a goal. The ensuing penalty kill kept the Bruins within a 1-0 deficit.
Marchand’s miscues were plentiful through the opening 20 minutes, so head coach Claude Julien made sure to settle down his rambunctious forward.
“Sometimes when things don’t go his way, he has a tendency to get a little frustrated,” the coach said after the game. “The minute I saw that in the first period, I had a talk with him to settle down, stay positive and things would work out. I really feel that that goal helped him settle down and he was a better player afterwards.”
That pep talk paid off in what turned into a 3-1 Bruins win in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final. The Bruins are now one win away from the Stanley Cup Final.
By late in the second period, Marchand was back in the form that earned him 21 goals in the regular season and five goals through the first two rounds of the playoffs.
His goal with 4:04 left in the second stanza was his first of the conference final.
“It’s been a frustrating series. It’s been a battle every night,” said Marchand, who in Boston’s Game 4 loss failed to land a shot on net. “[Zdeno Chara] made a great play down to [Patrice Bergeron] there and I just went to the net with my stick on the ice. I didn’t even see it coming. I was just hard on my stick. I knew Bergy was coming to me. He made an unbelievable pass and I just put it in the open net.”
The goal proved to be the game-winner.