BOSTON – After picking up his second penalty of the game—one that led to a New Jersey power-play goal—Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand was benched for the last nine minutes of the second period.
Just six seconds into the third, he showed that he got the message.
“March is a guy that plays on the edge. Every once in a while he crosses that line,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said Tuesday night after Marchand responded to his benching with his fourth goal in three games to give the Bruins a 4-3 win over the Devils.
“It was a message sent that he can’t put us in that situation. The character he has, he didn’t say a word. He just responded with a solid third period.”
Marchand scored after breaking for the net off the opening faceoff of the third, and Benoit Pouliot broke a tie with 3:01 left to give the Bruins their sixth consecutive victory.
Tim Thomas stopped 27 shots to help the defending Stanley Cup champions move into the playoff hunt after spending the early part of the season at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
“There were a lot of distractions at the start of the year. Maybe we weren’t really focused on doing the job of being the Stanley Cup champions,” Marchand said. “Now we realize how hard we have to battle every night.”
Marchand picked up a penalty for goalie interference in the first period, then another for roughing in the second that led to David Clarkson’s goal that put New Jersey up 1-0. Marchand spent the rest of the period on the bench.
But he came off the faceoff in the third, took a pass from Zdeno Chara and curled into the New Jersey zone before beating Johan Hedberg to make it 2-1—Boston’s first lead of the game.
“Any time you get benched, the message is being sent to you. You want to respond,” Marchand said. “Everyone wants to show that they can be depended on.”
Hedberg made 33 saves and Nick Palmieri scored twice for the Devils, who had won four of their past five.
Chris Kelly and Shawn Thornton also scored for the Bruins, who have 34 goals in their past six games. But it was still 3-3 when Pouliot knocked in the rebound of Rich Peverley’s shot from the blue line.
“To our credit, we pushed back every time they got one,” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. “But we’ve got to be able to seize control and play with a little more composure. Overall this year we’ve done a pretty good job of that. But tonight we got exposed by a veteran team in the third.”
After a scoreless first period, Clarkson scored for the Devils midway through the second and Kelly tied it four minutes later.
Then things really opened up in the third.
Marchand scored six seconds in, but that lead lasted only about two minutes before Palmieri scored, waiting in the slot for a pass from Andy Greene and beating Thomas to tie it. That was Palmieri’s first goal in eight games, but he wasn’t done.
Boston took the lead again when Jordan Caron tipped a pass through his legs to Thornton in front to catch Hedberg off-guard. And New Jersey tied it again when Adam Henrique took the defence with him—clearing out Thomas as well—and leaving Palmieri alone in front for the score.
Nathan Horton hit the crossbar with 7:13 left, and with 3 1/2 minutes left Peverley got one to trickle through Hedberg’s pads but the Devils were able to pounce on the loose puck as it sat behind him.
Notes: Marchand extended his point-scoring streak to nine in six games. … Patrik Elias snapped his seven-game point streak, which had been tied for the longest in the NHL this season. … Thomas (Quebec) and Hedberg (Philadelphia) were taken 217th and 218th overall in the ninth round of the 1994 draft. Neither goalie ever played for the franchise that drafted them. … Bruins Johnny Boychuk, Andrew Ference, Nathan Horton, Milan Lucic and Dennis Seidenberg each bought US$5,000 worth of tickets to the game for local military members and their families. The game was broadcast to a Massachusetts National Guard unit in Afghanistan.