It wasn’t enough for Brad Marchand that the Bruins were finally on their way to beating the Detroit Red Wings for the first time in three games this season and the first time in six games dating back to last season Saturday.
The flashy Boston forward just had to remind the Red Wings what they’ve been missing in these days since the departures of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg: at least one pair of hands that can make magic on the ice.
Marchand was asked if it gets any better than making that type of play to set up a teammate’s goal.
“That doesn’t happen often, but they’re always fun when they do. They tend to be against the bottom teams, you don’t really do that against top teams,” he explained about burning the 14-42-4. “But it’s always fun guys make plays and you capitalize.”
The Bruins were in no position to mock the Red Wings’ place in the standings when the puck dropped Saturday. Detroit had won the first two games against Boston this season, including a 3-1 win in Motown last Sunday.
With the Tampa Bay Lightning hot on their heels in the race for first place in the Atlantic Division, the Bruins knew they couldn’t squander another two points against the favorites to earn the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. So after getting shut out despite firing 18 shots at Jonathan Bernier in the first period, the Bruins did what their best known for: they stuck with their game plan, kept firing away, and eventually the floodgates opened.
Boston scored three goals in a 4:29 span of the second period.
As skilled as the Bruins are, they know most nights they’re also going to have to mix in some hard work to beat even the worst teams. So there was Marchand battling in front of the Detroit net to help Charlie McAvoy get freed up for the game-tying goal. Then Marchand made a hard-nosed defensive play to strip Detroit defenseman Mike Green and set up Patrice Bergeron’s go-ahead shorthanded goal.
Coyle tipped home McAvoy’s shot to cap the scoring barrage.
In the third period, Marchand performed his circus act that turned Athanasiou into a contortionist and let Pastrnak put the final dagger in Detroit.
“Even when they scored that (first) goal, I don’t think we were really worried about it,” Marchand said. “We had it tonight, you can tell. We came out so hard and we really controlled the play the entire way through the game.
“And I mean, yeah, they beat us last weekend but there were some circumstances that didn’t go in our favor. We still should’ve won that game last week. We’re confident with the way we play. When we play the way we have been, we’re too good of a team, it’s going to be tough for them to consistently beat us.”
Oh yeah, in addition to talent and hard work, a little cockiness goes a long way toward carrying the Bruins. The Red Wings could use a refill in all those areas.