BOSTON -- Through the first four games of this tightly contested Eastern Conference finals, Brad Marchand had yet to register a point on the scoresheet. So he did what any other young winger would do: rush the net and hope for the best.
Sure enough, five minutes into the third period and in a deadlock, he came up at the right place at the right time. Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman skipped the puck up the boards away from Zdeno Chara, but Marchand was there at the point to slip it away from Dominic Moore and keep it in the offensive zone. From there, the young forward reversed direction and charged to the far post, where a perfectly-placed tape-to-tape pass off the wall from Patrice Bergeron was waiting for him to easily roof.
“That situation I decided to carry it on my own and put a little soft chip in and go after it,” said Chara, who got the second assist on the game-winner. “It made them turn over [the puck] and from that point we had some guys that had position on their guys, and then obviously Bergy made a nice play. Marchand was driving to the net and got rewarded.”
Said Bergeron: “Yeah I was just waiting for Marchy to get open. I knew he was going to beat him with speed, and I was just taking my time to kind of suck that defenseman to me too, and I just tried to put the puck on his stick.”
Consider it getting rid of some antsy jitters. Marchand appeared to be getting too fine with the puck, trying to do too much with it, and that led to a few turnovers that almost stretched the Lightnings' lead in the first period.
“We had a lot turnovers in the first, and we were getting away from the game.,” Marchand said. “We wanted to get deep and then work down low in the corners. That's our game. They have too much skill to be turning the puck over at the blue line, and they always get a lot of opportunities off the rush like that. “
Head coach Claude Julien chalked it up to youth.
“I think again he’s a young player, first-year player,” Julien said. “And his intentions are so good that sometimes when things don’t go his way, he has a tendency to get frustrated. And the minute I saw that in the first period, I had to talk with him to settle down, stay positive and things would work out.
“I really feel that that goal helped him settle down, and he was a better player afterward.”