The World Cup golden boy carried his momentum back to the Bruins, devastating Columbus with a series of strikes. But don't call this the "new" Marchand
As if to prove that the kids aren't the only ones allowed to have fun in the NHL this season, Boston veteran Brad Marchand kicked of his campaign in regal style, hanging five points on Columbus in the Bruins' 6-3 opening victory. The last time we saw Marchand in a meaningful game was when his shorthanded goal against Team Europe gave Canada the gold at the World Cup. Momentum can be a great thing in sports and Marchand already seems to have it, despite playing with a brand-new center in David Backes.
Backes ended up with three points on the night, while right winger David Pastrnak had four. So yeah; Marchand is more than just Patrice Bergeron's buddy.
Folks kept acting surprised when Marchand was lighting up the competition at the World Cup, as if he was the third wheel on a line with Bergeron and Sidney Crosby, but look at what the left winger has been doing for years now and you'll find a two-way player with some scary offensive hops.
You know how the key to defense is "taking away time and space," from a player? Marchand employs the opposite on his potential checkers. The guy moves with such pace and tenacity that it either backs defenders off, or stuns them. Witness this gem of a goal from last night:
Mercy. The speed with which Marchand operates is a sight to behold. It's easy to say in hindsight, but when Jonathan Toews dropped the puck back to Marchand in that fateful World Cup final, I knew pretty much instantly that he was going to score. Marchand has been a demon on the penalty-kill for the Bruins and his four shorties last season tied him for third in the NHL.
Simply put; when you press players, they make mistakes. Marchand has the speed and skill to do that and he has certainly been employing it lately. That wrister of his is elite.
Now, of course he has the reputation of being a pest and an agitator and I'm sure Marchand himself doesn't want to lose the edge his game has. But it's well past time that he gets credit for the incredible job he does otherwise on the ice. Dude flirted with 40 goals last season and only six of those came on the power play. You can still hate him if your team is playing the Bruins, but at this point he's more likely to hurt your team on the scoresheet. Just ask the Blue Jackets.