Marchand/By S. Bradley

Marchand/By S. Bradley

The 48-game schedule doesn’t provide us with a great sample size.

But if you’re wondering about Brad Marchand’s inability to find the back of the net in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against Toronto, you might be interested to know that playoff teams kept Marchand off the score sheet a lot this season.

Marchand scored 18 goals, and 12 of them came against non-playoff teams, including three against Carolina. Marchand’s lone empty-net goal was scored against Florida.

Of his six goals against playoff teams, Marchand scored twice against the New York Rangers and once each against Washington, Montreal, the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh. Ten of his 16 goals were scored against the week Southeast Division. Marchand has yet to score in the series with the Maple Leafs that the Bruins lead 2-1 going into Game 4 Wednesday.

Compare that to his linemates Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron. Seguin scored two empty-netters, so lets throws those out. He scored one against Toronto and one against Carolina. Of his remaining 14 goals, Seguin scored nine against playoff teams (three against Montreal) and five against non-playoff teams.

Bergeron scored just 10 goals this season, including one empty-netter (against Florida). Among the rest of his nine goals, six came against Eastern playoff teams and three against the non-qualifiers.

Maybe Marchand hasn’t played his best all season. And maybe the tougher opponents are doing more to focus on the Bruins’ speedy winger. Against the Maple Leafs, the Bruins might be able to get by with Marchand just playing solid defense and leaving the offensive contributions to his teammates. Going forward in the playoffs, however, Marchand is going to have to figure out a way to solve stiffer competition. He’ll need to be more patient with the puck and do even more to get himself near the crease and around the net.