If the Canucks were hoping that Brad Marchand  would wilt as a rookie under the pressure of his first playoff experience, they obviously did not judge or scout him nearly close enough.
And there’s no reason to think Marchand is about to crumble under the pressure of the first Stanley Cup  finals Game 7 in Bruins history.
“We have to make sure that we have a good start. And they just seem to get so much momentum and energy off their crowd and we just have to find a way to counter that and come out strong,” said Marchand sounding every bit the veteran of 24 playoff games.
When he scored in the Game 3 blowout of the Canucks, he referred to the fact that he is considered the modern-day “rat” of the Bruins, a nickname lovingly bestowed on Ken Linseman for being the bur in the side of every opponent. It’s a nickname that he continues to wear with pride as he proved again to the Canucks on Monday.
When he wheeled in and took a puck off the boards from Mark Recchi  he showed no hesitation snapping off a wrister that beat Roberto Luongo  over the goalie’s left shoulder just 5:31 into Game 6.
“I was there, it was a good shot but I have to make that save,” Luongo said. “He put it where he wanted but I have to make a save there.”
“We weren’t too worried about that in here,” Marchand said of Luongo’s talk after Game 5. “He can say what he wants to say. We were just trying to focus on playing this game so we got a couple early, and you know, obviously they switched the goaltenders up. Obviously he’s bounced back every game and I expect the same thing back in Vancouver.”
When the shot went in, the crowd exploded and Marchand had his ninth of the playoffs. No Bruins rookie has shown more poise under pressure than Marchand in this postseason. And no Bruins rook has ever scored more in the postseason has he set a new franchise record for rookie goal-scoring, breaking the old record previously held by Mike Krushelnyski in 1983 and Bobby Joyce in 1988.
“First few games I was very nervous and I didn’t really know what to expect but after that, I calmed down and the guys carry you along so well and make you feel comfortable,” Marchand said. “You adapt very quickly.”
“It was a huge goal he scored and he emotionally kept on driving for us,” said the 43-year-old Recchi of the 23-year-old Marchand. “It’s a great thing. He’s such a good kid and it’s nice to see him get rewarded but also play an intelligent game tonight. He still played with the edge, but it was on the right side of it.”
And at no time was that edge on better display than with 1:31 left in the third period when he got into it with Daniel Sedin. Marchand got into a punching exchange with Sedin and appeared to use the talented forward as a punching bag.
“He didn’t say anything and was just kind of taking it. He said something to the ref. He didn’t say anything before,” Marchand said of Sedin. “He was just right there. I felt like it.”
Sedin appealed to the officials but not before both were tossed from the game.
Now Marchand and the rest of the Bruins need to translate the energy – and success – on the road one more time to bring home the franchise’s first Stanley Cup since 1972.
“It’s going to be tough,” Marchand said. “You know we seem to be able to build a ton of energy off our crowd. So we’re going to have to find some way to do it. And just, you know use each other to get up and try to build some energy off that and hopefully that’s enough.”
Recchi has been around to know just how special Marchand is and what it means to have a young, talented player like Marchand who doesn’t get scared by the moment.
“He’s a young kid that plays on the edge and sometimes the emotions get the best of him,” Recchi said of Marchand. “But when you’re young, that’s not a bad thing. I would rather have a kid like that than a kid that plays with no emotion. It’s a big part of his game and he’s learning. He’s learning to coral it when he needs to and when we need a lift, he’s learned to go out and do it. That’s the sign of a smart, young player who wants to get better and better.”