BOSTON -- “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
That might be what the Rangers' defense and their goalie, Henrik Lundqvist, are saying about Bruins forwards Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand after the two connected on essentially the same play they beat the Rangers with during overtime in Game 1. The goal gave the Bruins a 4-2 cushion 26 ticks into the third period of their 5-2 win in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Bergeron and Marchand used their speed and chemistry, as Bergeron once again found the seam in the Rangers' defense in front and Marchand buried it past Lundqvist.
Following the game, Marchand was asked how many times he and Bergeron plan on trying to score with the same play.
“I don’t know. Until it stops working. Hopefully a couple of more times,” the pesky winger said with a smile. “It was very similar. I was kind of hanging back there backdoor and ‘Bergy’ made an unbelievable pass again.”
That was Marchand’s second goal in as many games, as he finished with a goal and an assist and now has two goals and five assists in nine playoff games. Bergeron had two helpers in Game 2 and now has five points in his last three games and seven points in nine games. One of the reasons both are starting to contribute more consistently is their speed and the chemistry they share.
“That’s a huge part of our game is trying to use our speed to our advantage,” Marchand said. “I know that if I’m able to bust through to seams, ‘Bergy’ is going to hit me, and then we’ll get opportunities and he knows the same. I think our whole team is definitely using that to their advantage right now. All that with chipping pucks in deep, we’re a tough team to play against.”
But while Marchand is finding his groove again and that chemistry with his linemate, he knows he can still be better. Midway through the opening frame, Marchand made an errant pass that Rangers captain Ryan Callahan scooped up and turned into a goal -- by beating defenseman Dougie Hamilton and shooting it by Rask to tie the game at one. Marchand admitted that he was getting too comfortable with the puck there.
“I think I was definitely a little more aware of it,” Marchand acknowledged. “I think I was maybe a little overconfident. I thought I was controlling the puck pretty good last game, and it didn’t seem to be going the same way. After that I tried to keep it a little more simple and make sure pucks were in deep. It’s tough when you turn the puck over, but it was early in the game. You just got to try to bounce back.”
Head coach Claude Julien never wants to see turnovers, especially those that the opponent converts into goals, but he said he has been impressed with Marchand’s recent play.
“He seems to be skating better in regards to that,” Julien said of Marchand utilizing his speed and finding his game. “He might’ve seemed a little slow at times. I think sometimes when you’re over-thinking, you put too much pressure on yourself, it just weighs on you. Right now, it’s just a matter of going out there, almost the same thing as the young guys, ‘go out there and play.’ He’s a quick player, he’s a shifty player, and he’s very capable of doing that. He knows defensively tonight there was a couple things, not so much the puck that didn’t make it across on the first goal, but probably how he reacted to coming back. There’s certain things we talk about, but you’ve got to encourage those guys to keep doing the things that they’ve been good at doing. To me, he’s played two solid games for us.”