Julien surprised some by mixing up his lines at practice Friday, with Marchand skating alongside former linemates Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell on the team's fourth line. Marchand was there again during pregame warmups as well.
While Marchand actually started the game in what had become his regular spot with Patrice Bergeron and Rich Peverley, the message was apparently received by the pesky forward. Despite the Bruins' heart-breaking loss, Marchand turned in his best effort of the series in the losing effort.
"Yeah, I know I have to be better, and I try to prepare that way — that I have to be better out here, and I felt better today,” Marchand said after the Bruins' 4-3 loss to Washington on Saturday.
He wasn't the only one who noticed a difference, as Julien was also pleased with how Marchand responded after the threat of a line change.
"It wasn't just a message. It was kind of getting another look at practice, and at the same time, you know your players," Julien said. "And I know Brad would certainly respond, and it was important for him to be put on a line that he deserves to be on, and he responded well tonight. I thought he played really hard and played a great game for us."
Marchand's energy in Game 5 was arguably the best he's shown all series. Multiple times, Marchand carried the puck into the offensive zone looking to create opportunities, and he was his pesky self often, helping the Bruins gain an emotional edge, especially in the second period.
That paid off late in the second when Marchand was able to get pressure in front of the Washington net before punching home a rebound by Caps goalie Braden Holtby to tie the game.
He then helped set up the Bruins' first power-play goal of the series when he skated the puck deep in the zone before reversing it back to Dennis Seidenberg, who found Johnny Boychuk for a one-timer for Boston's third goal, just minutes after Washington had regained the lead.
Despite the threat of being moved down, Marchand said his confidence never wavered.
"It’s just how it goes," he explained. "It's not always gonna go your way, and you just have to battle through it. Especially in playoff time, you can't get down. You have to hold your head up and continue to work hard."
Marchand's spot in Julien's lineup didn't change in Game 5, but it was apparent that just the threat of doing so helped inspire the young forward to bring his game to the level that he, his coach and his teammates expect it to be at.