By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
You’re out of your mind if you ever thought Brad Marchand would be this good.
And by “this good,” I mean good enough to become the first Bruins player to record 100 points in a single season since Joe Thornton accomplished the feat in 2002-03, just the third B’s player in the last 25 years, and the 10th skater in franchise history to eclipse the 100-point mark in a single season.
“It’s a pretty good feeling, but I think it just shows how good of a team we have, the success that we’ve had as a group the whole year,” Marchand, who finished with a goal and an assist in the 6-2 final, said. “It’s a cool personal stat. But at the end of the day , it all goes towards the same goal, which is getting to the playoffs and we’re right there.
“It just shows again how good of a group we have.”
Marchand’s coach both in Providence and now Boston, Bruce Cassidy, wasn’t so deflective in his praise of No. 63’s milestone.
“Couldn’t be prouder,” Cassidy said of Marchand hitting the 100-point mark in the winning effort. “He’s a kid that came through Providence a long time ago – we were both much younger people. He’s worked really, really hard.
‘I’m gonna guess he’s worked as hard as anyone in the National Hockey League to round out his shot, his puck play.”
There’s likely another game to go for Marchand, too, before a deserved rest likely awaits him in the regular-season finale.
Here are some other thoughts and notes from a 6-2 win in Columbus…
David Krejci’s career-year rolls on
B’s center David Krejci has quietly put together what may very well be a career-year on the Black and Gold’s second line. With an assist on Jake DeBrusk’s first goal on Tuesday, Krejci matched his 2008-09 career-best with 51 helpers. He added a second one by the end of the night, of course, giving him 52 on the season. Now, add that with 19 goals and you’re talking about a 32-year-old that’s playing his best hockey since the days of riding between Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton.
It’s all about health, too. When Krejci is healthy and productive, the Bruins tend to go on deep runs.
Who’s best fit for that second wild card spot?
If the Bruins are going to get by the Leafs and then topple the Lightning in round two this spring, they’re going to need some help. Help they did not get from the Devils last year in what was a five-game, round-one beatdown at the hands of the Bolts.
It begs the question: Who do you want to see capture that second wild card spot in the East? With three playoff spots left for just four teams still in the hunt, that second wild card spot and a date with Tampa could be had by either the Blue Jackets, Hurricanes, Canadiens, or even the Penguins (though that’d take a relatively serious fall by Pittsburgh).
Now, if you’re looking for a true bad matchup for the Bolts, you’re out of luck (as you should expect by now). Tampa swept the season series against both the Hurricanes and Blue Jackets, captured wins in three out of four against Montreal (last night was their first loss of the year to the Habs), and won two out of three meetings with the Penguins.
So maybe you’re not looking for the team that will pull off the unthinkable and beat them in a series, but rather leave a mark.
I think Columbus definitely fits the bill there, as John Tortorella would rather die than ice a team not built for nastiness. I mean, you’ve seen the Blue Jackets three times in the last month alone, and you’ve seen the way they can make you pay physically. But the Bolts straight-up abused them this season, outscoring them 17-3 (!!!!!) over their three-game season series.
With that in mind, perhaps you turn your eyes to the ‘Canes. Rod Brind’Amour’s club played the Lightning incredibly hard in their last head-to-head, and had the Lightning on the ropes before Tampa finally pulled away in the third. Given their roster makeup, it’s hard to imagine the Hurricanes not giving the the Lightning some absolute fits throughout a seven-game series.
You know Claude Julien’s Canadiens could cook up some trouble for Tampa Bay from a structure standpoint, too, though it’s hard to imagine the Canadiens winning that series without Carey Price standing on his head for a .940 or so. (Not sure you want to set the stage for that of meeting in the second round, to be honest with ‘ya.)
No matter who the opponent is, the odds of this year’s Bruins-Leafs series going six or seven — I say it like you don’t know we’re gonna be covering a Game 7 in Boston — the B’s really just need somebody to provide some sort of resistance in the other Atlantic Division series.
Alright, that’s enough: Rest everybody
The Bruins officially have nothing left to play for between now and Game 1 of their first-round series with the Maple Leafs.
So, at the risk of sounding hyperbolic, let me suggesting resting legitimately anybody of even slight importance for the final two games of this season. Seriously, give me something like Trent Frederic between Peter Cehlarik and Karson Kuhlman as your top line in Minnesota this Thursday. Give me Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril as a top-pairing group against the Lightning on Saturday afternoon. Bring Stephane Yelle out of retirement if you have to.
Given the injuries this team’s battled through — they survived a few more scares on Tuesday, too, with Torey Krug, Marcus Johansson, and Patrice Bergeron all shaking off some bumps — there’s legitimately no need to test your luck in these final two games.
And please, for the love of all things holy, somebody wrap Brandon Carlo in bubblewrap.
The Bruins return to action Thursday night against the Wild.