It was quite a special night on Saturday at TD Garden. The Boston Bruins played an important game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was also St. Patrick’s Day eve in Boston and Conor McGregor made his way to the TD Garden. The B’s needed two points badly after dropping all of their three games on the road prior to the contest on Saturday. They pulled it out, largely thanks to Brad Marchand.
Marchand had an assist on the opening Bruins goal scored by Patrice Bergeron, then scored yet another game-winner in the overtime. It was his third overtime goal in the season and 15th overall in his career. Of course, Marchand has the most overtime game-winner in the Bruins franchise history. He also recorded his 86th and 87th point of the season, surpassing his career-best from each of his last couple of campaigns, when he finished with 85 points.
In the overtime, he made a truly exceptional play to steal the game for Boston. The Bruins started the game with great energy, but ever since Matt Duchene undressed John Moore for the game-tying goal, the Blue Jackets seemed to be a little bit better. They had their chances in overtime too. But Marchand proved to be the difference maker for his club as they sought for the all-important two points.
A pass from his own teammate went through the legs of Seth Jones and there began the race for the puck. Jones had a lot of advantage before Marchand, but he let Marchand walk in and take the puck first. That was the crucial mistake by Jones. He thought he has everything covered and was confident that Marchand cannot beat him one-on-one. That was partially right. But the Patrice Bergeron came in as help and it was way too easy for those two to beat Jones and Artemi Panarin just staring at them.
Marchand tried to do the spin-move on Jones and he nearly succeeded but lost the puck in the process. However, Bergeron was there to recover the puck in front of Panarin. Then Bergeron attached three Columbus’ defenders to him and Marchand went for a golden shooting position, he was left wide-open.
There are two things to admire in this play. Marchand never gave up and made an effort to beat Jones to the puck initially. Later on, it was his partner Bergeron who helped him and in the meantime, he made himself wide-open for a game-winner. That’s bad coverage by the Blue Jackets knowing that nobody has scored more OT goals in the Bruins franchise history than Marchand. But still, 14 teams before the Blue Jackets could have said the same. It’s not all about bad plays, but many times it’s about the skill and reading an opponent’s passes.
This time, it was Brad Marchand schooling yet another defense with his overtime skills, alongside partner-in-crime Patrice Bergeron. The Bruins won again at home and got a ton of help from the Ottawa Senators too. They re-opened the four-point lead on the second place in the Atlantic Division. Now Boston can rather calmly celebrate the St. Patrick’s Day. With Brad Marchand, it’s everything but luck.