DETROIT – Brad Marchand might’ve spent some time tossing and turning Thursday night if the Boston Bruins had lost Game 4 to the Detroit Red Wings.
Marchand missed two wide-open nets but had Jarome Iginla to thank for scoring the overtime winner that bailed him out.
“I think I gave him a huge kiss there,” Marchand said after the 3-2 victory that put Boston up three games to one. “It was great to have him score that goal. Definitely I’ll be able to sleep good tonight and very happy that we won.”
Marchand was a central figure in Game 4 at Joe Louis Arena, but not in the way he would have liked. In addition to pestering Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg, the 25-year-old went high and wide with two of the night’s best opportunities.
“I might be focusing a little too much on other stuff, and that’s why I’m missing my opportunities,” Marchand said. “I think I would help the team more on the score sheet in other ways.”
Instead, Marchand came up empty on the score sheet in his 21:10 of ice time.
The first came with five minutes left in the first period when all that was standing in the way of an easy, tying goal was goaltender Jonas Gustavsson’s stick. Marchand fired a wobbly shot that missed.
With 10 minutes left in the third, Marchand had an even better scoring chance when defenceman Torey Krug’s pass got him the puck on the doorstep with Gustavsson well out of his crease. Nothing doing on that one, either.
“I was definitely frustrated, especially after the second one more than the first one,” he said. “I definitely wanted to bury it hard on the second one. First one I kind of flicked it and missed, and I really wanted to bury that second one. Maybe my shot’s too hard and I’ve got to take a little off.”
Marchand is without a point through the first four games of the Stanley Cup playoffs. That’s not a pace he’d like to keep up with the Bruins considered favourites to come out of the Eastern Conference.
During Boston’s 2011 Cup run, Marchand had 11 goals and eight assists in 25 games and last year finished with four goals and nine assists in 22 games. When the Bruins were eliminated in the first round by the Washington Capitals in 2012, Marchand was limited to a goal and an assist i seven games.
Each game is a lesson, and while Thursday night’s frustration might’ve reminded the Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia, native of something, it wasn’t something he didn’t know already.
“You don’t want to dwell on it too much,” Marchand said. “You want to stick with it and stay positive and worry about getting the next one. It’s all I can really do now is try to bear down and next time I have a wide-open net, hit it.”
Marchand might not get too many of those gift-wrapped scoring opportunities the rest of the way. But coach Claude Julien wasn’t about to criticize the winger for missing on two big ones.
“Those are things that happen in games,” Julien said. “All you can tell your team is bear down and make the most of your opportunities.”
That’s exactly what Iginla did in getting what he correctly called a fortunate bounce on the first playoff overtime game-winning goal of his NHL career. More importantly for the here and now it was Iginla’s first game of the series and what he hopes is a way to get his production rolling.
“It’s something to build on,” Iginla said. “You’re always trying to get going and feeling good.”
© The Canadian Press, 2014