May 4, 2011

With playoff jitters now behind him, rookie Marchand thriving for B's

by Jesse Connolly

Bruins wingers Mark Recchi and Brad Marchand celebrate a goal. (Getty)

BOSTON -- After looking like a seasoned pro throughout most of his rookie season, a case of playoff jitters were immediately apparent for Bruins winger Brad Marchand.

In Game 1 against the Canadiens, his first taste of postseason hockey at the NHL level, Marchand flubbed what was essentially a gimme as he fanned on the puck with a wide-open net directly in front of him.

"I was a little anxious and a little too jumpy in the first round," Marchand said. "It's kind of calmed down now and I feel good."

Since then, the Nova Scotia native has been on an absolute tear. After burying his fourth playoff goal in Boston's 3-2 win in Game 2, Marchand now has nine points in nine playoff tilts, placing him in a tie for seventh in scoring with Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin and Danny Briere of the Flyers.

Now back to looking like that feisty forward brimming with confidence, Marchand credits the postseason appearances he made prior to the NHL for his success so far this spring.

"I haven't played the playoffs in the NHL before but I've gone deep and I've won championship," said Marchand, a two-time gold medal winner with Canada at the World Junior Championships.

"I feel good in the postseason. It's the best time of year to play and you wait for it all year long. When you get to that point, you don't want to let it slide because you might not get another opportunity again like this year."

Marchand and the Bruins have quite the opportunity ahead of themselves this evening, as a win could give them a commanding 3-0 lead over the Flyers in their conference semifinals series.

"Tonight's going to be a huge game," Marchand said. "It's either 2-1 or 3-0 in the series, and there's a big difference. We have to make sure we're ready for tonight because they're going to come out hard."

The Black and Gold are not only familiar with being down two games to none, they know full well that it's hardly an inescapable hole after climbing out of an identical one against Montreal.

"Yeah you saw it a few different times in the first round where teams were down and came back.," said Marchand. "Playoff time, anything can happen. Teams are hungry and they're battling for their lives out there. You can't underestimate that. If we sit back they're going to roll over us."

Drawing from their recent experience against the Habs should pay dividends for Boston, as they hope to squash any chance the Flyers have of climbing back in this series with a victory tonight at TD Garden.

"We want to make sure we're ready in that way and we're prepared for that," said Marchand. "We know that we were down 2-0 and came back. We can use that to make sure we don't give them any opportunity to get back in this series."

If Marchand can remain as hot as he's been of late, the poised winger and his clutch contributions are going to make an attempted comeback by the Flyers awfully tough to come by.