Brad Marchand has been keeping a diary for ESPNBoston.com this season. In this playoff edition, he reflects on the Bruins' historic Game 7 comeback, what the consequences would have been if they had lost, and what he and the team need to do to beat the Rangers. -- As told to Louise K. Cornetta
I probably had about 100 text messages after Game 7. I haven’t even been able to get through them all. It was fun to see so many people were involved in watching that game. It’s pretty cool that our team was the first to come back from a three-goal deficit in the third period and go on to win a Game 7. At the same time, I don’t think anyone on our team was really too worried about accomplishing any record. We were more worried about getting the win, that’s just how it came.
I couldn’t sleep after the game. I tried, but the adrenaline rush was still going. I didn’t sleep very well at all. So I’ve really just been trying to catch up on my rest the last couple of days. But when I have seen people, Game 7 is what they want to talk about.
When we were down 4-1 midway through the period, there were mixed emotions on our bench. Everybody was obviously a little upset about what was happening. But you could tell that guys were still confident that we could do this, especially if we could get a goal pretty quickly, which we did. Everything ended up working out for us in the final two minutes. There wasn’t one person on our bench who stood out as the vocal leader. I’d say more everyone was chipping in. We knew we were fighting for our lives. All that emotion on the bench really helps in a situation like that. It seemed like everybody on the bench was being very vocal in really trying to get guys going. The whole team was a good unit working together.
We went into overtime very confident. In the locker room we were excited that we had gotten ourselves back into this situation of one goal decides who moves on. We felt that we could take advantage of how regulation ended with two quick goals to tie the game. Guys were excited to get back out there and start the overtime. Segs [Tyler Seguin] had said how Thorty [Shawn Thornton] kind of got in his face and that really made a difference. I think he did a really good job of stepping up in overtime. You saw the way he battled on the goal. He was in front and kind of kicked that puck loose there to Bergy [Patrice Bergeron]. It was really good Segs was able to step up like that.
I was on the ice when Bergy scored the game-winning goal. How can I describe the feeling I experienced when the puck went in? You have a huge rush of adrenaline and an overwhelming sense of excitement kind of comes over you. I saw the puck went into the net and everyone just went crazy. It’s a lot of fun to be a part of. I can’t say enough about Bergy, who had the game-tying and winning goals. He’s the kind of guy you need on your team in the playoffs. He comes up big in the big games. We saw that again on Monday night. He does all the little things well and is such a great leader on and off the ice. Again this year, we wouldn’t be where we are without him on our team.
Bergy, of course, got to wear the Army jacket after Game 7 postgame. Who we think is the player of the game gets to wear it. [Andrew] Ference got the jacket made up from some friends of his that are with the Army Rangers. That’s what they wear with the Boston Bruins logo on the sleeve. We decided to wear that this year for the playoffs. It goes to the warrior of the game.
I wasn’t very happy with how I played in this series. I know I can play better. I felt in the last game I made some big strides. I felt I played a lot better. I’m going to try and carry that momentum over into the next series. I want to make sure I’m making plays and holding onto the puck and looking for opportunities. I didn’t really do that a whole lot in the last series. That’s my job, so I have to make sure I do that.
While I wasn’t that happy with my own play until Game 7, the same can’t be said for our defensemen. They deserve a lot of credit. Especially in Game 7 after Seids [Dennis Seidenberg] went down and got hurt in the first minute, they made a huge difference. Matt Bartkowski came in and Dougie Hamilton stepped in. It was impressive because, I mean, those guys haven’t played a whole lot. Bartkowski played 25 minutes and all the defensemen logged a lot of time. They all played as well as they did especially in overtime, which was incredible to see.
I also think Tuukka [Rask] showed he can certainly play under the pressure of the playoffs. I think he played great in goal. Every night he gives us the opportunity to win. We know, and he knows as well, that if we are going to do well in this next series that he’s going have to come up big. He’s done a great job so far.
When I look back on the Toronto series, especially Game 7, what I am most proud of how is how we stuck with it. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. They had a very good team. We had some injuries and guys not playing as well as we could but we were able to change momentum around to us. We were happy about that.
The way to carry over this Game 7 momentum into the Rangers series is by staying positive. We have to start this first game the way we finished the last one. We need to make sure everyone is coming out very hard. Take the negatives and learn from them by making sure we don’t let up or have a slow start. We don’t want to let their team get the jump on us.
Looch [Milan Lucic] mentioned after the game how there was a feeling of knowing that if we lost this group of guys would most likely experience changes heading into next season. I don’t think we ever want this team to change. We are a very, very close-knit group. Everyone gets along so well with each other. We’re a like a family in the room. We knew if we were out in the first round again two years in a row that things would have to change up. So guys battled harder to make sure that didn’t happen. We’ve got to take it stride by stride and make sure we’re prepared for this next series and hopefully accomplish the same thing.
Coming up we have another New York-Boston rivalry. We’ve faced them in the past and this rivalry dates back many years. Both teams are very similar. It’s going to be battle. We’re looking forward to it. They’re a physical team with a big goalie in Henrik Lundqvist. He didn’t allow a goal in their last two games, which is even more impressive when they were playing a team like Washington. A team with a lot of skill and fire power. We will have to make sure we do whatever we can to get in front of him. This Rangers team plays very hard. We are going to need to bring our best game every night.
They have a lot of players you should be looking out for. Obviously Rick Nash and Brad Richards are key players, but then they also have guys like Ryan Callahan who can step in who you need to look out for as well. Nash is a big guy who is also very fast. Richards is a very smart player. They are a dangerous combination.
How do we beat the Rangers? Well, a few areas I know are important are first of all on defense. We have some injuries. So we need to make sure everybody comes back hard and tries to play strong defensively to help each other out. We also definitely need all four lines going. Playoff time, you need every line to play their best. We didn’t do that last series. So we have to make sure everyone steps up and does their job. Net-front traffic is also key. With their goalie, everything he sees he’s going to stop. We have to make sure we take the puck all the way in and are able to get in front of the net. Hopefully we get some by him.
Finally, I have a message for our fans who want us to win the Stanley Cup this year: One, I think a lot fans might have learned last game that I don’t think you should be leaving your seats in the last 10 minutes of a game when we’re down by any score. Two, obviously it’s very very difficult to win a Stanley Cup. We’re trying our best and want the exact same thing that you do. We’ve all hoped and dreamed about holding the Stanley Cup. We’re doing our best and want to be able to do that again. We want to bring the Stanley Cup home to you.