BOSTON — Another year, another 20 goals for Brad Marchand.
The Bruins winger, who made a name for himself as an agitator and perhaps still is best known as such to many around the NHL, also has been a tremendously consistent scorer since becoming a full-time Bruins regular in 2010. And the 2015-16 campaign projects as his best yet.
Marchand reached the 20-goal mark Monday night for the fifth time in his six NHL seasons, and with 33 games still remaining on the Bruins’ schedule, he’s on pace to shatter his single-season career high of 28.
(His lone sub-20-goal effort came in the lockout-shortened 2013 season, during which he tallied a team-high 18.)
?It?s nice,” Marchand said Tuesday morning as the Bruins prepared to host the Anaheim Ducks at TD Garden. “I think it?s just that I?ve had the opportunity to play with really good players, and we?ve had a very good team for a long time. So, I think it?s just me benefiting from a good team.”
After a month-long goal-scoring slump that surrounded his much-publicized three-game suspension, Marchand has been especially hot of late. He’s scored one goal in each of Boston’s last five games, four of which the Bruins have won.
?I think I?m feeling good, but I?ve said it before: There?s times where the puck goes in and times where it doesn?t,” said Marchand, who’s led the Bruins in goals in two of the last three seasons and is on track to do so again. “I just want to try to stay even-keeled throughout those times and make sure you play the right way.”
The recent uptick in scoring by Marchand and fellow top-liner Patrice Bergeron — who leads the team in points and has four goals in his last five games — has coincided with Bruins’ rapid push toward the top of the Atlantic Division standings. Boston is 5-1-0 in its last six contests and can move into second place into the Atlantic entering the NHL All-Star break with a win Tuesday night.
?It?s nice that we?re learning how to win even if we do let a team back in a game,” Marchand said, referring to Boston’s blown third-period lead in Monday’s eventual 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. “We do have to do a little better — when we get a lead, we have to maintain it.
“But before, we would have crumbled, and teams would have come back and won those games. So, we have done a good job of winning in different ways, but right now, it?s just a matter of getting those points. Every point is so important, so we?ve done a good job of getting those points.”
Thumbnail photo via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports Images