ST. LOUIS — Before this Stanley Cup Final began, Brad Marchand addressed his Boston Bruins teammates.
The gist of the message was simple: Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.
Marchand told the Bruins he had been there before, like five of his other teammates, back in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final – and he didn’t deliver.
It’s almost hard to remember. Marchand is labeled in our brains as a big-game player, assisting on the Cup-clinching goal in 2011 in Vancouver. Marchand was a monster in that Game 7 with two goals and one assist.
But 2013 was a different story. Marchand was blanked in six straight games by the Chicago Blackhawks. He didn’t register a point after posting 13 points in his previous 16 playoff contests that spring.
Marchand told his teammates he regretted it all summer.
“That caught our attention, for sure,” one Bruins player said, not willing to comment publicly on a private conversation. “I think we all took that to heart.”
Two games into this Stanley Cup Final, Marchand has just one empty-net goal to show for himself on the scoresheet. That’s one point in his last eight Final appearances.
It’s not hyperbole to say the Bruins’ success hinges on his stick: Boston is 24-1 when Marchand scores a goal in his playoff career and 36-42 when he does not.
In the larger scope, the Bruins’ “Perfection Line” with Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Marchand has been, well, more like the “Imperfection Line.” They haven’t made a dent in the series yet after being perhaps the most dominant line in these playoffs.
“We’re not concerned, regardless of how much you guys [the media] want to talk about it,” Marchand said Friday after practice in St. Louis.
How tough has it been for that line to get going against Brayden Schenn and the St. Louis Blues? Well, coach Bruce Cassidy
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