Friday, April 12

For Brad Marchand, overtime goal to beat Canadiens came with some extra incentive – The Boston Globe


After the Bruins added defenseman Hampus Lindholm in a trade Saturday with the Anaheim Ducks, Cassidy met with the team.

No matter what the roster looks like going forward — and it will be different with the arrivals of Lindholm and Josh Brown, who was acquired Monday afternoon in a trade with Ottawa — the players in the locker room had to focus on the game that night.

“This time of the year, I know, can be stressful on certain individuals — you just never know,” Cassidy said. “But at the end of the day, we just focus on our task at hand, which is preparing for Montreal.”

Against a Canadiens team that spent the weeks leading up to the deadline maneuvering toward a rebuild, the Bruins looked like a team still waiting for the smoke to clear.

It took overtime for the Bruins to snap out of it. Connor Clifton’s goal at the 17:01 mark in the third period kept the Bruins alive. Brad Marchand’s goal 34 seconds into OT sealed the Bruins 3-2 win.

Canadiens goalie Jake Allen was helpless to stop Brad Marchand’s backhand for the game-winner 34 seconds into overtime.Ryan Remiorz/Associated Press

Marchand gave the Bruins his seventh multi-goal game of the season, bringing his season total to 27 goals, and he was both relieved that the game went to an extra period and motivated to finish it off.

The relief was because Clifton’s goal gave wiped out a crucial giveaway barely a minute into the third period, with the game locked at 1 and the Bruins on a power play. Marchand had a pass attempt at the blue line picked off by Joel Armia, and when Armia looked up, he was all alone with just Jeremy Swayman to beat.

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Swayman couldn’t get a glove on the wrist shot by Armia, whose fourth goal of the season gave Montreal a 2-1 lead.

“I owe Cliffy dinner for that one, bailing me out there,” Marchand said. “That was a terrible play on my behalf, obviously.”

The Bruins had allowed only five shorthanded goals all season. An energized Canadiens team fed off Boston’s 35 giveaways.

“We got casual and sloppy on our [power play entry] at times tonight and paid the price — as we should have, because you’ve got to be cleaner, ” Cassidy said.

Connor Clifton (75) celebrates with teammate Craig Smith (12) after scoring the tying goal with 2:59 left in regulation.Ryan Remiorz/Associated Press

But the motivation for Marchand going into overtime was a subtle moment at the end of the second period. Marchand had a clean look at the net from the weak side and tried to go top shelf but Canadiens goalie Jake Allen snapped his glove to make the grab as time expired. Puck still in his glove, Allen looked down to admire his work.

Marchand took that personally. But instead of confronting Allen in the moment, he got his payback in overtime. Trailing on a three-on-two break, Marchand took a feed from Erik Haula and beat Allen low, glove-side with a backhand for the game-winner.

“I kind of knew it was going to come back just because of the way he kind of showboated on the save at the end of the second,” Marchand said. “I wanted to score a little bit extra on that one because of that save. So luckily it went in.”

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The Bruins held off Montreal to pick up their fifth win in their past six games. They also pulled even with the Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division standings with 83 points apiece, though Toronto has a game in hand.

“We hadn’t seen them in a while, they made a coaching change, we talked about some of the adjustments,” Cassidy said of the Canadiens,, who named Martin St. Louis as interim coach after firing Dominique Ducharme on Feb. 9. “They seemed to be playing with maybe a little more attack energy, getting their D involved. For us, we try not to change our game at all.”

A wild effort by Haula and Marchand got the Bruins started early. Haula and Marchand had a two-on-one break, and Haula wrapped a pass behind Montreal defenseman Corey Schueneman that was just barely within Marchand’s reach.

Marchand tried to swat it out of the air and into the net, but couldn’t. Clifton kept the Canadiens from clearing it, snatching the puck out of the air, then finding Haula in front of the net. Haula hit Marchand again, and this time Marchand had no issues punching in his 26th goal of the season and giving the Bruins a 1-0 lead at the 9:21 mark.

The Bruins scored first for the eighth time in the past nine games, and for the 37th time in 63 games this season. But David Savard’s game-tying goal at the 8:49 mark in the second period made it a battle.

Trent Frederic let Savard slip by him from the blue line to finish off a give-and-go from Alexander Romanov. Savard weaved through some traffic in front of the net and backhanded a shot past Swayman for his second goal of the season.

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Swayman made 15 of his 26 saves in the second period, while Allen finished with 43 saves as the Bruins had a 46-28 advantage in shots.

Since the NHL returned in January from its COVID hiatus, the Bruins’ 25-9-3 record is second only to the Avalanche. While deadline day might have been nerve-wracking, Cassidy said players can relax now that it’s behind them.

“That will probably make a few of the guys comfortable, or more comfortable, at ease,” Cassidy said. “But I think, in general, we feel we’re a good hockey club and we’re trying not to subtract from it.”


Julian Benbow can be reached at [email protected].

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