BOSTON — After Tuesday's morning skate, Bruins coach Claude Julien discussed how he wanted agitating forward Brad Marchand "to be a good brat, not a bad brat."
That comment came upon Julien learning that Marchand had been fined $2,500 Monday night by the league for a slew-foot the previous week against Pittsburgh. That was the kind of "bad brat" that drives Julien crazy.
But Tuesday night against Los Angeles, Marchand showed off his "good brat" side, scoring a pair of goals to help Boston post a 3-0 win over the Kings at the Garden.
"I think offensively he was good tonight and scored some big goals for us," Julien said of Marchand. "Both of them Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] was winning draws and making things happen there, but Brad is certainly capable of using his shot and scoring some goals for us. So that was nice to see."
Marchand knew he had overstepped his bounds with his dangerous slew foot of Pittsburgh defenseman Matt Niskanen. He also knew his misdeeds were outnumbering his positive contributions of late with no goals and just two assists in the past five games.
So Marchand was determined to atone for his sins.
"I think any time something like that happens you want to respond and bounce back, but I think it's just that of late I haven't been playing my best," Marchand said. "I wanted to bounce back and got a few lucky bounces, so it worked out."
Marchand extended Boston's lead to 2-0 in the second with a quick snap shot from the top of the left circle when Bergeron cleanly won a draw back to him. Marchand then added another key insurance goal in the third, driving the net for a backhander from the top of the crease after Bergeron won another faceoff.
"That next goal was going to be a big goal for either team," Julien said. "For us giving us some breathing room with a three-goal lead, and if it was them it was going to become a real game. The way we were giving them that space and the amount of shots they were getting it would have made for a really interesting finish. But that was a big goal. Bergy his second effort, not just winning the draw but making sure he put that puck toward Marchand who walked in alone on net. The big effort was from Bergy and Marchand finished it off."
Marchand is well aware that things haven't always worked out when he's tried a little too hard to get under the opposition's skin. There was the two-game suspension last March for elbowing R.J. Umberger in Columbus. There was the bulletin board fodder he provided in Montreal by calling out the Canadiens for diving before a game. There was the golf swing aimed at the Toronto bench late in the regular season that helped inspire a Leafs upset win at the Garden.
That all led him to deliver arguably the quote of the year during last spring's postseason run, when he earnestly declared, "I've got to stop doing dumb stuff."
He hasn't stopped completely, as last week's incident shows, but he is learning, thanks to the constant reinforcing of the message from Julien."
"That's definitely something I've heard a lot from him and that's one thing he wants me to do is play inside of his rules and stay inside the laws of the game," Marchand said. "It's a fine line, but it's something I'm learning to do and he's kind of curving my game to make sure I do that.
"It is a very fine line," Marchand added. "There's going to be times when you cross it and times when you don't. I know what I do. I know there's consequences. I've dealt with being benched plenty of times throughout my career. It's nothing new. The big thing is you have to respond and make sure you learn from it."
Marchand learned his lesson this time, and applied that knowledge to a breakout game to lead Boston to a win. Now it's just a matter of showing that the good brat will be on display far more frequently than the bad brat.