Bruins winger Brad Marchand has been keeping a diary for ESPNBoston.com. In this playoff edition, he talks about how he predicted one of his goals, what he wants to say to the Penguins now, what to expect in the Stanley Cup finals and how the fans can help swing the momentum of a game. (As told to Louise K. Cornetta)
We're headed back to the Stanley Cup finals. This feeling will never get old. It's incredible. To have this opportunity at another shot at the Cup, there's no better feeling. We really want to embrace that and hopefully make the most of it.
How did we sweep the Penguins? It was tough. They have guys in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and so many others who play hard, but our defense played incredible. Every single one of them did an incredible job battling down low and had good sticks. When the puck did get through, Tuukka [Rask] stepped up. The forwards did a good job of coming back hard. We wanted to make sure we had layers. We're happy with how everything went.
There were a few keys. We were prepared for this series. Tuukka has been incredible. He made all the right saves at the right time. He gave us momentum and kept us in it. We definitely wouldn't have won if he wasn't on our team.
Another key was we were fortunate to never trail in this series. Playing ahead is definitely a lot easier than playing from behind. It doesn't always work that way, but it's nice to play with the lead. We want to continue to do that.
As for my own play, I'd say I played well this series. We were all focused on doing our jobs. I just wanted to make sure I did my job when I was on the ice. I was able to assist on some important goals. The overtime one in Game 3 and the winner in Game 4 stand out. I actually called that I was going to score my second goal in Game 2. I had a feeling. I was talking to Thorty [Shawn Thornton] on the bench right after [Marc-Andre] Fleury came into the game. We were talking about where to shoot on him. I was like, "High glove. I'll show you." Thorty had a couple on him in there like that a couple of years ago. We wanted to shoot there, and I got lucky with the goal.
You might think now that the series is over I'd have a lot to say about guys like Matt Cooke and Brenden Morrow. So what do I have to say to them? Nothing. It's a hockey game. Everything that happens on the ice stays out there on the ice. We're not carrying any grudges. It's a job. At the end of the day, we want to respect our opponents. They played hard with great players who were out there trying to win like we were. I have nothing negative to say about anybody. Not to say I don't like talking when I'm out on the ice. You know how it goes. You're out there, and in the heat of the moment, things happen.
I know people will want to know how we feel about beating Pittsburgh with [Jarome] Iginla going there instead of here. Honestly, we're not worried about any single guy on that team. We're happy with the team we have. This is our team. We want to play with the guys we have. We're in the finals. Maybe if things had been different and things had changed up, we wouldn't be here.
Besides, we are happy to have Jaromir Jagr on this team. Have you discovered what a grinder he is? Especially with the assist on that game-winning goal in double overtime, he really dug out that puck to get it to me so I could pass it to Bergy [Patrice Bergeron]. He can do it all. He's one of the best players to ever play this game for a reason. He shows different parts of his game every night. We're glad he's on this team.
A moment that will always stand out from this series is the play when Soupy [Gregory Campbell] broke his leg but stayed on the ice for his shift during a penalty kill. He's a warrior. You can't say enough about him. The way he battled through that shot and kept playing was an incredible thing to see. Everyone can learn a lot from him in the way he plays and how much he cares about the team.
He will be missed, but I think everyone is going to step up and do his job. It's tough when guys go down. It's tough losing Soupy, who is an important player on our team. It just means that everyone has to step up a little more. Daugie [Kaspars Daugavins] did a great job coming in and played a great Game 4. Our depth makes us tough to play against.
Another moment that stands out from that double-overtime Game 3 is how incredible it is that Z [Zdeno Chara] and Seids [Dennis Seidenberg] played so many minutes. I will remember how tired I was after that game, and that's how much those guys play regularly. It's almost hard to believe.
Our team likes to play a physical game. A play maybe you didn't realize that made a difference and shows this was in Game 4 when Z made an incredible save with only a few seconds left on Malkin. I saw on the replay that there was a wide-open net and Z brought his hand around as he was on the ice to help stop it. That helped save the series right there and allowed us to move on to the Stanley Cup finals. Something like that is why he's such a great leader. We're lucky to have Z.
This team plays physical, especially at this point of the year. Guys want to lay their bodies on the line. We're willing to do that every night, like you saw with Soupy. It's just another example of how guys want to win and are willing to sacrifice their bodies for the team.
Next up is the Stanley Cup finals -- well, after a few days of rest. It will be nice to be able to regroup. It's good to kind of get our minds away from the rink for a few days. I hope we can do that. The two teams that are left in the Western Conference are tough opponents. We have to make sure we're prepared because they will be coming out very hard. They've both won the Stanley Cup recently, so they know how to win. It's going to be a battle.
Chicago and Los Angeles both have a lot of offensive weapons. They're both good teams. Obviously, Chicago is very offensive. It played great all year and had the most wins in the regular season. L.A. is kind of like how we were in 2011 in that we won at home, which is what it was doing up until Thursday night. The Kings are a great team too. It's always tough to go into another team's rink in the playoffs. The crowds are always incredible. Either way, it's not going to be easy. I know if we play the Kings we get home-ice advantage, but it really doesn't matter who we play. We're going to be prepared for either team and hope for the best.
I was mentioning how fans can make it tough on an opposing team, but they can really help the home team more than they may realize. In that double-overtime game, it is difficult because your body is so tired and you're starting to cramp up. That little momentum the crowd can give is the extra bit we need to keep pushing on. Fans can give us different momentum swings at different times, and that's enough to carry us to a victory. We're lucky to have the crowd that we do and the fan support around the city. We need you guys to keep going.