Brad Marchand returned to the Boston Bruins a month ahead of schedule from double-hip surgery, had 21 points going into Thursday’s game and potted a goal in the eventual shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings.
But it’s still not enough for the forward.
The Bruins blew a two-goal lead and then squandered a power play late in regulation into overtime. Marchand’s frustrations clearly were beginning to boil over and he tried to take them out on Phillip Danault before going to the penalty box for roughing with just over a minute left in overtime.
“I was just mad,” Marchand told reporters after the game. “It would have been nice if the ref didn’t get in the way.”
Prior to that Marchand couldn’t end the game with a two-on-one with Patrice Bergeron.
Despite snapping a four-game pointless streak with a goal Thursday night, and playing at an elite level this season, Marchand still isn’t happy with how he’s playing.
“At times, I’ll extend my shift where in the past, I could hang on to pucks when I’m tired. right now, I’m not able to do that,” Marchand told reporters. “Once I get tired, it affects me for a few shifts. It’s one thing (coach Jim Montgomery has) talked to me about a couple times, just shortening up my shifts and making sure a long one doesn’t affect the next three or four and throw me out of synch there. I’m not too worried. It’s been a little bit of a tough stretch. But there’s been multiple games where our line’s going to have multiple goals. There’s times when everything goes in. There’s times when nothing goes in. That’s part of it. Just got to stick with it.
” … I have high expectations for my game. When I’m not there, regardless of it’s now or if it was last year or previous years, if I don’t have a good game, I’m not happy with it and try and improve on it. It’s a process. It’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. Just got to keep chipping away. I feel at times it’s coming back. I feel more comfortable out there. I feel like my conditioning’s getting back. It’s coming.”
Montgomery didn’t have any problem with Marchand’s penalty and told reporters the forward still is helping the Bruins win hockey games on a consistent basis, but noted he’s still going through a “growth process” after having surgery on both of his hips and finding his limits.
Still, if Marchand still has another level to reach, that only spells bad news for opponents.
The Bruins will practice Friday and get back to game action Saturday afternoon when they welcome the Columbus Blue Jackets to TD Garden for a 1 p.m. ET puck drop.