Marchand gets new linemates, scores twice as Bruins throttle ‘Canes 6-2


If there was a woodshed handy in the TD Garden on Monday night, the Bruins would have dragged the Carolina Hurricanes behind it for a more private beating…

…but there wasn’t, so the Bruins settled for stomping them in front of 17, 565 that was more like a public flogging.

Whether the result of coach Claude Julien shuffling the lines or just coming out with more of a scorers mentality,  Boston set a season high water mark with six goals and Tukkaa Rask stopped 40 of 43 shots as the Bruins punished the Carolina Hurricanes 6-2.

Apr 8, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins right wing Jaromir Jagr (68) tries to pass the puck to left wing Brad Marchand as Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Bellemore and goalie Dan Ellis defend during the third period of Boston

“The one thing we wanted was more offense and I think we got that tonight,”  Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “Now the matter combining both, I didn’t think  we were at our best in defensive play.”

The 42 shots allowed by the Boston defense continues a trend of exposing their goal tenders to a barrage, 40 or more shots in three of the last four games, but it is a work in progress as the Bruins attempt to effectively clear the defensive zone.  Opponents have taken to be aggressive against the Bruins in their zone, essentially promoting full ice pressure to disrupt the timing of the offense…

…the side effect of which is that their opponents are able to intercept clearing passes and get wide open snipes at Rask and his backup Anton Khudobin.

but at least for one night, the Bruins’ passing was crisp, the defensemen hitting the forwards on their tape as they skirt the boards then work back towards the puck instead of waiting for it to come to them, and the result was a relentless pelting of two Carolina goalies.

Brad Marchand scored two goals in the first period as the new second line of Jaromir Jagr, Gregory Campbell and Marchand were the main instigators, the line providing constant pressure on net all evening.  Rich Peverley, Andrew Ference, Jordan Caron and Nathan Horton all scored goals – Caron his first of the year and Marchand his team-leading 15th and 16th of the season.

As has been the trend, the Bruins sleepwalked at the outset, exposing Rask to point blank shots which the net minder was able to deflect away, but the slow starts continue to haunt the Black and Gold – but once they woke up and got moving, Boston scored three goals on nine 1st period shots, chasing Hurricane starting goalie Justin Peters.

Peters’ backup didn’t fare much better, as Dan Ellis allowed four more goals throughout the match.

The encouraging thing for the Bruins is that despite their struggles, they are just one point out of the Northeast Division lead behind the Montreal Canadiens and somehow only four points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the Eastern Conference’s top seed…

…and their schedule favors a successful stretch run.  Boston plays 6 of their last 10 games at TD Center, including a mid-April, week-long four game home stand that could serve as the impetus to superiority in the conference – but first, a trip to New Jersey to face the Devils on Wednesday leading to a quick turnaround with the Islanders at the Garden on Thursday and a Saturday rematch with these Hurricanes in North Carolina.

This is it, the stretch run of an abbreviated season – and if the Bruins can use the final three weeks to build upon last night’s puck movement out of their defensive zone to set up their attacking offense on the other end, they have as good a chance as anyone to claim the Cup…but first, the Devils on Wednesday night…