HALIFAX – Brad Marchand was having so much fun in his hometown, he didn’t want it to end.
At one point in Sunday’s night 7-3 Boston pre-season win over the Montreal Canadiens, the yappy Bruins forward noticed the clock continuing to run well past a whistle.
“He was the only one yelling for the referee to stop the clock,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “The rest of us were telling him to be quiet.
“I’m yelling, ‘Shut up, shut up. Let it run down.’ … You could tell he wanted to stay here for a while.”
Only weeks after parading the Stanley Cup through Halifax, Marchand returned home for an NHL game in a part of the world where Canadiens and Bruins fans are as thick as the fog.
Canadiens sweaters outnumbered Bruins sweaters by about two-to-one in the soldout Metro Centre, but the biggest cheer of the night was reserved for Marchand, who grew up a few kilometres from the arena and played junior for a time here.
The fleet winger banged home a rebound at 8:49 of the second period to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead.
Marchand, named the game’s second star, said playing in front of family, friends and fans was special.
“It was awesome,” he said. “It’s definitely great to be back here, especially playing in the NHL and having family and friends see what’s it’s like to play for Boston.”
Marchand said he learned about halfway through last season that the Bruins had a date pencilled in for Halifax.
“From that day forward, I was really excited for training camp to come,” he said. “It’s been a long time since I had an opportunity to play in this building.
“It was a pretty special time, especially after winning last year.”
Boston cashed in on torrid specialty teams and an inexperienced Montreal defence to blow open a game that was a lot closer than the score would indicate.
The Canadiens iced four rookies on the blue-line and they struggled with the speed of the Bruins forwards all night.
Power-play goals by Marchand and Joe Corvo and short-handed goals by Daniel Paille and Zdeno Chara proved to be the undoing of the Canadiens, who led 1-0 just minutes into the game then surrendered five consecutive goals.
Gregory Campbell, Tyler Seguin and Jordan Caron also scored for the Bruins, who improved their pre-season record to 2-1.
Scott Gomez, Brian Willsie and Aaron Palushaj answered for the Canadiens, who fell to 1-4 with the loss.
Peter Budaj went the distance in Montreal goal, facing 34 shots.
Boston’s Anton Khudobin played a strong game for Boston, stopping 27 of 30 shots, including a breakaway by Brendan Gallagher.
The two teams meet again Monday night in Montreal.