October 7, 2011

Marchand B's lone bright spot in season opener

Brad Marchand buried Boston's first goal of the year with a power-play strike against the Flyers. (Getty)

BOSTON – Though it in no way reflects on the stellar pregame ceremony, opening night ultimately ended in disappointment for the Bruins.

There was a lack of cohesiveness, a pinch of a lackadaisicalness and a bevy of quality scoring chances that sailed high or wide. Luckily there was one bright spot for the B’s in their 2-1 setback against the Flyers, and it came in the form of their lone goal scorer.

Brad Marchand proved to be the silver lining from start to finish, as the feisty, undersized winger helped generate most of the offense Boston was able to muster throughout the contest.

“Well, he did, he did,” coach Claude Julien said when asked if Marchand brought a wealth of energy on the ice. “We had talked about everybody trying to find a way to bring some energy to our game and build some momentum and get our fans into it and everything else. Some guys did a better job than others, and I thought we could have had some better results in regards to that.”

While many of the Bruins were turning in lackluster performances, Marchand was simply buzzing all night.

No. 63 buried the B’s first goal of the season – and only tally of the night – midway through the first period, streaking in on a partial breakaway to beat netminder Ilya Bryzgalov for a power-play strike, staking Boston to an early 1-0 lead.

Marchand, whose four shots were a team-high among the B’s forwards, could have easily put together a multi-goal game were it not for a few stellar stops by the Flyers’ new prized goaltender. Marchand created room between himself and a defender and looked to have Bryzgalov beat after backhanding a pass from David Krejci toward the net.

Unfortunately, the Russian netminder threw his glove up in the air and miraculously kept the puck from finding the back of the net.

“Basically, he got me on the way back, you know,” said Bryzgalov. “He’s got pretty good speed, and pretty much I was like, what can I do, I just waited and hoped he hit me in the pad or with the puck in the glove. And he did, he put the puck in the glove. It was lucky.”

Marchand, however, wasn’t going to pat himself on the back for his performance, as the winger was disappointed by the all-important end result.

“Great ceremony before the game there but you know, tough finish tonight,” said Marchand, who was also credited with a game-high two takeaways. “I thought we had a good start and you know, we got an early goal there and then we kind of let our guard down a little bit and they took over. We just have to regroup and bounce back.”

With 81 games still left to go, the young forward is – as one might expect – confident the Black and Gold can do just that.

“Yeah, it's only the first game,” Marchand said. “We're still trying to get back into things here but the goalie made a few big saves that really kept them in the game. We do have to capitalize on our opportunities. We had a lot there in the first where we missed the net and you know, it doesn't even count as a scoring chance so we do have to be better in that area, but that'll come with time.”

Boston will get another chance to secure their first win of the season Saturday night when they welcome the Lightning to the Garden.