The Boston Bruins are without their best all-around player (Patrice Bergeron) and best all-around defenseman (Charlie McAvoy) because of injuries, but they’re still winning games thanks to the clutch play of Brad Marchand.
The veteran forward played the role of hero again Thursday by scoring the winning goal in the final minute of the third period to lift the Bruins to a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden.
It’s the third game-winning goal for Marchand in as many contests. He also scored an overtime goal Saturday to beat the Montreal Canadiens and another OT tally Tuesday to defeat the Detroit Red Wings.
Thursday’s win was Boston’s fifth in a row, all without Bergeron. Marchand, who has been Bergeron’s linemate for many years, has stepped up in his teammate’s absence. Marchand has tallied nine points (five goals, four assists) in the five games with Bergeron sidelined.
Marchand now has 67 points (29 goals, 38 assists) in just 52 games this season. He’s also one goal short of his third consecutive 30-goal campaign.
Here are some other notes from Bruins vs. Flyers:
— Brian Gionta scored on a breakaway in the final minute of the first period for his first goal since joining the Bruins just before the Feb. 28 trade deadline.
— Tuukka Rask was back in net for the first time since last Thursday’s win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Rask was battling an undisclosed minor injury earlier in the week, but he looked fine against the Flyers. He made 31 saves on 33 shots for his 27th win of the season.
Rask has fared very well in his career versus the Flyers.
— Riley Nash has filled in admirably for Bergeron on the top line alongside David Pastrnak and Marchand. Nash has scored three goals with four assists in the five contests that Bergeron has missed over the last two weeks. He scored again Tuesday with a first-period goal.
— Flyers rookie forward Nolan Patrick’s nifty pass on the power play to Jakub Voracek opened the scoring in the first period. Patrick, the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NHL draft, has tallied nine points (five goals, four assists) in the last 12 games. He appears to be hitting his stride as the playoffs near.
— The Bruins next hit the ice Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks at the Garden. They’ll then fly to Chicago for another afternoon matchup with the ‘Hawks on Sunday. The Blackhawks, barring some sort of incredible turnaround, will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2007-08. A combination of veteran players underperforming, salary cap constraints and injuries has led to Chicago’s struggles.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports