Brad Marchand Continues Maturation Process, Now Leads Bruins in Goals With First NHL Hat Trick

Brad Marchand Continues Maturation Process, Now Leads Bruins in Goals With First NHL Hat TrickBOSTON — Brad Marchand did something Friday night he never expected to do in the NHL.

For guy who's found himself in hot water for taunting opponents with golf swing motions, been suspended for a head shot and fined for a slew foot, coming up with something new isn't always a good thing.

But on this occasion, there was nothing wrong with Marchand's memorable feat, as he collected his first professional hat trick to lead the Bruins to an 8-0 rout of the Florida Panthers.

"I never even thought I would ever get one of those in this league, but it's definitely up there," Marchand said of where his three-goal night ranked among his Christmas wishes.

"I don't even think I got one in Junior, but I think maybe back in Midget," Marchand added. "No, that's a lie, I got one in Junior. Only one, though."

Now he has one in the NHL to match it. Marchand opened the scoring with his first shorthanded goal of the year 5:56 into the first period, then ended the night with goals at 1:53 and 10:53 of the third to bring a flood of hats raining down on the Garden ice.

That might lead Marchand into a new fashion statement that could be as risky as his on-ice play, but he vowed not to repeat last year's mistake of bringing a plaid fedora into the locker room when he sifts through the hats tossed looking for a winner. After merciless ribbing from his teammates, the rest of the Bruins eventually signed the offending cap and it was permanently retired from his wardrobe.

"There was a couple of good ones there on the ice, so I'm going to go through them and pick one out and throw it up on the wall," Marchand said. "No more fedoras. I got banned from those."

Marchand has been banned for a few things over the years, but it's been a steady maturation process that's helped him develop into a consistent offensive force for the Bruins.

"He's good at finding the puck around the net, and also finding ways to put the puck in," Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said. "He's pretty resilient too, just to find ways to score. Right now he's playing really well, and you can't ask more than four goals in two games, can you? So it's great for him to see that, and hopefully he can stay like that."

Marchand now has 15 goals on the season, giving him the team lead in that category after passing linemate Tyler Seguin (14 goals) and putting him on pace for a 30-goal campaign. After boldly predicting his breakthrough 20-goal season last year, Marchand isn't making any proclamations about 30 this season.

"I'm trying not to [think about it]," Marchand said. "I'm just trying to take it game by game and whatever happens, happens, but playing with guys like Bergy and Segs and on a team like ours, you're going to get a goal here and there and I'm just trying to do my job.

"I think I've just been fortunate enough to play with great players and I just kind of feed off them and get some lucky goals," Marchand added. "I never expected to be in that position [leading the team in goals] and I don't expect to be there long, but it's a lot of fun being on this team and being in the winning ways right now, so hopefully it keeps going."

Marchand is still amazed by the success he's already achieved in his young career.

"Yeah, you know, you can't even put into words how fast a year and a half has gone and, you know, I remember last summer just trying to come in and make the team," Marchand said. "Then we go on and win the Stanley Cup and come in this year and we still have a great team and all the cards just kind of lined up. It's been a dream come true for sure."

Despite the confidence his colorful personality exudes and his goal prediction last season, Marchand is genuinely humbled by how far he has come in his career.

"Well it's tough. I thought I could, but to make it in this league everything has to go right," Marchand said. "You have to get the right breaks and when you get your opportunity you have to play well and everything. So, it's not easy to make it. There's a lot of great guys in the American Hockey League who never get the chance, and they are a lot better hockey players than me, but it's just that things have gone well and I've been fortunate."

Claude Julien has been a guiding force behind Marchand's development, and while he still sees plenty of room for growth for his fiery forward, he's also proud of how far Marchand has already come.

"The experience is what's taking over right now," Julien said. "I'm not going to hide the fact that there's still some things we deal with, whether it's a weekly basis or a daily basis. He's a real emotional individual and sometimes he just gets himself all wound up and you have to point him down a little bit. But I think he's done a good job of dealing with that, and whenever he does kind of get wound up you just kind of grab him and touch him by the shoulder and he gets it now.

"That's what makes him a good player," Julien added. "And I've said it many times, as long as he doesn't cross that line, he's good at it. I think he's got to play with emotion to be successful, and I think he's learning to do that more and his experience from last year to this year has really helped him."

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