BOSTON -- Brad Marchand got a text message from an old teammate Thursday that may have turned out to be the perfect piece of advice.
Marchand, who hadn't scored in 10 games after leading the Boston Bruins with 18 goals in the regular season, received a simple message from former linemate Mark Recchi prior to Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals with the New York Rangers.
“He just texted me and told me to play my game and not to worry about anything else,” Marchand said of Recchi's note. “The goals and stuff will come. It’s nice to hear from him. He’s obviously a guy that I went through a lot when I played with him, and it was good to hear from him again.”
The advice worked, as Marchand went out and played what was by far his best game of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, scoring the winner 15:40 into overtime to give the Bruins a 3-2 win and 1-0 series lead.
“It just shows what kind of guy he is,” Marchand said of Recchi. “He’s been gone here for a couple of years and he didn’t have to reach out to me and give me those words of wisdom. But the fact he still cares enough to send that message shows how great of a guy he is and what a good teammate he was.”
When reached via text by ESPNBoston.com after the Bruins' win, Recchi simply said, “That’s all Marchy! He got the job done, not me!”
During the Bruins' morning skate, Marchand came up lame and bent over in pain. He had to be helped off the ice and did not return. But afterward coach Claude Julien said Marchand would play. Following the win, Marchand joked that it was all part of the plan.
“Yeah, exactly, I didn’t want to waste my energy there this morning,” Marchand joked. “I felt I had some good jump tonight. I wasn’t worried at all. I’m serious, I wanted to get off the ice. Claude knows I hate morning skates. He used to yell at me when we won the Cup there because I wouldn’t even take a stride. I just wanted to get off early.”
“I might have to try and make a deal with Claude and pay him off or something,” he later added with a laugh.
All kidding aside, Marchand already had been trying to do what Recchi had advised him to do. Instead of pressing and letting frustration set in, Marchand just went back to basics.
“I think I was getting away from controlling the puck and trying to make plays,” Marchand said. “That’s where I play my game, down low in the corners and trying to do things there. I felt like the last couple of games were more like that, and I’m just trying to keep it simple and not do too much.”
Marchand also was back to utilizing his speed and was buzzing throughout Game 1.
“I felt for much of the Toronto series, I didn’t really have my legs, but I felt like they’ve been there more the last couple of games,” Marchand said. “Hopefully they can continue to be there.”
Julien was happy for Marchand and happy to see the return of the Marchand who can contribute on the score sheet and create offense. He also jokingly credited Marchand for leaving the morning skate early.
“Like I said this morning, there was nothing there; it was very minor,” Julien said. “It might have looked major to you guys, but it was very minor and that’s why I said, ‘He’s going to be fine tonight.’
“I think that’s what he needed to do, get off the ice early so he could score that winning goal. Whatever works is good for us. I thought that was one of his better games so far in the playoffs. He skated well, made some great plays, he took pucks to the net, and that’s the Brad Marchand that we know. It was nice to see him really bring his A-game to the table tonight.”