Brad Marchand was without question the Boston Bruins’ most impressive forward during their four-game Western Conference road trip.
His best performance came Saturday night when he scored twice in a 5-2 Bruins win over the Arizona Coyotes, which increased his team-leading goals total to eight. [tweet https://twitter.com/NHLBruins/status/541453512035823616 align=”center”]
Marchand started the game with great energy and opened the scoring just 58 seconds into the first period with a wrist shot that beat Coyotes goaltender Devan Dubnyk stick side.
The veteran winger added an insurance goal in the second period to give Boston a 4-1 lead and ensure there would be no Coyotes comeback. It also was the 100th goal of his NHL career.
Marchand tallied five points (three goals, two assists) on the four-game road trip, the most of any Bruins forward. He also helped Boston control puck possession with an average Corsi-for percentage above 50 at even strength.
|Road Trip||G||A||PTS||SOG||ES CF%|
|Dec. 1 vs. ANA||1||0||1||2||70.59|
|Dec. 2 vs. LAK||0||0||0||1||57.14|
|Dec. 4 vs. SJS||0||2||2||2||41.38|
|Dec. 6 vs. ARI||2||0||2||4||45.83|
Another positive aspect of Marchand’s performance on this road trip was the fact he played well against quality competition. He played the majority of his even-strength shifts against top-tier defensemen such as Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Arizona), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (San Jose), Drew Doughty (Los Angeles) and Sami Vatanen (Anaheim).
Marchand’s importance to the success of Boston’s offense has increased this season because of all the injuries to key players, most notably first-line center David Krejci and No. 1 defenseman Zdeno Chara, as well as other veteran forwards not providing consistent scoring production.
Marchand is the only B’s forward to score 18-plus goals in each of the last four seasons and it’s not a coincidence that his team usually wins when he focuses on scoring goals and not the opponents’ post-whistle shenanigans. With their win over the Coyotes on Saturday, the Bruins are now 5-1-0 when Marchand scores this season, and they were 13-5-4 when he found the back of the net during the 2013-14 campaign.
Similar to just about all of Boston’s forwards, Marchand needs to find more consistency in his offensive game. He had a seven-game goalless drought entering Monday’s matchup with the Anaheim Ducks, and it also took him seven games to score his first tally on Oct. 21.
With that said, Marchand’s recent scoring is an encouraging sign for the Bruins, who have a few days off before a huge test against the red-hot Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night at TD Garden.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images