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Brad Marchand tones it down: ‘If they hate me, they hate me’ 04.12.11 at 1:39 pm ET
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Brad Marchand has been a trouble-maker against the Canadiens this season. (AP)

WILMINGTON — It was too predictable that with the Bruins playing the Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs, Brad Marchand‘s stall in the Bruins dressing room had media members awaiting him Tuesday. The B’s forward has not been afraid to speak his mind in the past, especially when it comes to the Habs.

Yet Tuesday, which marked the B’s first postseason practice, Marchand, who earlier in the season said that the Habs like to “shoot their mouths off” and “dive down easy,” was far more complimentary of the Canadiens and was focused more on his excitement to play them.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Marchand said. “The history between the two teams is going to make it very interesting. I know the fans are very excited for it. It’s going to be a great series. They’re a great team over there, and they’ve played very well against us this year, so have to make sure we’re ready.”

Marchand had 21 goals and 20 assists in his rookie season, becoming a fan favorite for his scrappy play and abundance of interesting quotes. He also is responsible for one of the bigger brawls of the season in Feb. 9′s game when he hit James Wisniewski What’s made him so popular in Boston has predictably made him one of the more disliked Bruins in Montreal, but he doesn’t mind.

“I don’t care what the fans [say]. I just want to go out there and play my game and try to help the team any way I can.

“I’m not there to get the fans to hate on me. I’m here to help the team win, and if they hate me, they hate me. That’s how it goes.”

The playoffs begin Thursday, with the B’s hosting the first two games before heading into Montreal for what’s sure to be a hostile environment.

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Brad Marchand having a ‘pretty insane time’ playing with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi, winning awards 04.02.11 at 8:50 pm ET
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Talk about quite the rookie ride. It’s been Brad Marchand – not Tyler Seguin – everyone one is talking about and scouting for that matter, as a first-year Bruin heading into the playoffs.

After scoring 21 goals and adding 19 assists in 72 games, the Bruins winger was honored before Saturday’s division-clinching 3-2 win over the Thrashers as the 2010-11 Bruins “Seventh Player Award” given to the Bruins player who goes above and beyond the call of duty and exceeded expectations, as voted on by Bruins fans.

“Well, it was a question mark whether I was going to be on the team this year, so it’s a honor to win that award,” Marchand said. “It’s special.

“I think I was expected to be defensively responsible and bring energy into the game. Now I think I still have to do the exact same thing, but maybe bring a little more offense.”

Marchand celebrated the honor by picking up his 20th assist on Boston’s first goal Saturday, a score by Mark Recchi.

Technically still a rookie after 20 games last season, Marchand has earned the trust of his coaching staff by playing the left wing on the team’s second line, playing with Patrice Bergeron and Recchi.

“It’s huge, they’re great offensive players,” Marchand said. “They’re both very smart. They make a lot of unbelievable plays that you don’t see coming a lot of times. So with guys like that, you’re expected to produce. It’s a pretty insane time playing with guys as good as them.”

“I think it’s very deserving and that’s certainly not to take away some of the other guys that have made tremendous steps as well,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “But, he’s one of those guys that obviously surpassed maybe a lot of our expectations, obviously not his because he had made that prediction. But nonetheless, I think he’s been a real good player for us from starting off on the fourth line and really making that line probably one of the best fourth lines we’ve had here for a long, long time and obviously was probably one of the best fourth lines in the League.

“He graduated obviously with Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] and Rex [Mark Recchi] and those guys have certainly, as much as he’s benefited from them, they’ve benefited from him as well. They know that. He’s such a good skater and he plays hard every night. He’s been a real good player for us and I think it’s going to be exciting to see him jump into the playoffs, just by the way he is. He’s going to be pumped for that and I think he’s going to be a really good asset for our hockey club.”

Marchand is expected to receive consideration for the NHL’s Calder Trophy, awarded to the league’s top rookie. The favorites are considered Carolina’s Jeff Skinner and San Jose’s Logan Couture.

But that obviously isn’t the trophy foremost on Marchand’s mind.

“We didn’t come into this season wanting to win this division,” Marchand said of the Northeast title Saturday. “We have a goal, and that’s to win the Stanley Cup. So it’s a stepping stone, and it’s a good accomplishment for a great team. But there’s a long way to go before we accomplish our goal. It’s special, but at the same time we’re a long ways away.”

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Bruins tied with Thrashers after one at 1:43 pm ET
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The name of the game was easy goals in the first period Saturday, and thanks to a softy allowed by each team, the Bruins and Thrashers are tied at one.

Mark Recchi scored his 14th of the season when a shot from Patrice Bergeron trickled through the legs of Ondrej Pavelec and needed just a tap-in to make it 1-0. The Thrashers tied it up when Tuukka Rask took a delay of game penalty and let a Dustin Byfuglen shot bounce off him and in. The Thrashers are 1-for-2 on the power play, while the B’s are 0-for-1.

The Bruins are outshooting the Thrashers, 6-4.

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Brad Marchand picks up first significant award – Bruins 7th Player Award at 1:22 pm ET
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After scoring 21 goals and adding 19 assists in 72 games, Bruins winger Brad Marchand was honored as the 2010-11 Bruins “Seventh Player Award” given to the Bruins player who goes above and beyond the call of duty and exceeded expectations, as voted on by Bruins fans.

Technically still a rookie, Marchand has earned the trust of his coaching staff by playing the left wing on the team’s second line, playing with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi.

Marchand celebrated the honor by picking up his 20th assist on Boston’s first goal Saturday, a score by Mark Recchi.

Marchand is expected to receive consideration for the NHL’s Calder Trophy, awarded to the league’s top rookie. The favorites are considered Carolina’s Jeff Skinner and San Jose’s Logan Couture.

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Claude Julien would rather Brad Marchand not ‘cross a line’ 04.01.11 at 9:49 am ET
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Maybe it’s because the emotions of Tuesday night are so raw or maybe it’s simply because he realizes it’s not a very professional move but Bruins coach Claude Julien made it pretty clear after Thursday’s 4-3 shootout loss that he wasn’t thrilled with Brad Marchand‘s friendly suggestion to the Leafs for offseason plans.

In case you missed it, following the second period – one in which he scored a short-handed goal to help his team to a 3-2 lead heading into the third – Marchand skated by the visitors’ bench and practiced his nine-iron swing. Clearly, he was not showing good form.

“I mean, it’s just, he’s been a good player for us and again, his emotions sometimes can be a positive, but sometimes you don’t want to cross the line and certainly you don’t like that when that happens. So it’s just a learning process,” Julien said.

Fact is, Marchand has been a good player for the Bruins, so good that Julien has entrusted him with skating on one of the team’s top lines with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi.

His second period short-hander was his fifth this season, tying him for second this season in that category in all of the NHL.

And it was that goal, not his golf swing, that brought energy to the Bruins in the second period and brought them to within 20 minutes of clinching the Northeast Division before a third-period Joffrey Lupul goal set up Toronto’s shootout win.

“I think I just came off the bench and tried to take an angle and he passed it right on my stick,” Marchand said. “I wanted to drive, I knew there was forward coming back so I wanted to try and cut in. The puck kind of popped out there in the open and I just backhanded it. Especially in a situation where we’re on the penalty kill and they’re on the power play. It kind of takes their momentum out of the game and gives it to us. It was good timing, but a lucky goal.”

So, there. Brad Marchand is totally capable of showing humility. And it’s that humility, along with more specialty teams goals, the Bruins are looking for in the coming weeks and months.

“Come playoff time we can’t just flip the switch,” Marchand added. “If you’re going to play your best hockey, you have to have to play up to that, play up to that point. You have to build on it. It’s almost like you get momentum and you’ve got to feed off that. We want to get on a roll here, and make sure we’re playing our best hockey.”

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Bruins lose to Maple Leafs in shootout 03.31.11 at 9:53 pm ET
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The Bruins fell to the Maple Leafs, 4-3, in a shootout Thursday night at TD Garden.

The Bruins got goals from Brad Marchand, David Krejci and Andrew Ference. All three Bruins goals came in the second period. Tim Thomas made 32 saves in regulation, and made the save of the game in stopping Mikhail Grabovski on a penalty shot in overtime.

However, the Bruins blew two leads in the game. Joffrey Lupul struck for two goals for Toronto — both of the Toronto forward’s tallies were of game-tying variety, as his second period power-play goal knotted the game at two, and his third-period goal made it 3-3. Lupul went off for slashing Tomas Kaberle with 1:05 remaining in overtime.

The Capitals defeated the Blue Jackets Thursday, so the Bruins are now four points behind Washington. Bruins will wrap up their three-game home-stand on Saturday when they host the Thrashers in a matinee.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Milan Lucic became the 10th player in the post-lockout NHL to have 30 goals, 30 assists and 100 penalty minutes in a season when he assisted Krejci’s second-period goal. Lucic later added to his penalty minute total by fighting Jay Rosehill.

- With Marchand’s shorthanded goal, he moved into a three-way tie for second in the NHL. It also gave him points in three straight games, and he now has five points (2 G, 3 A) over his last five contests.

- Krejci’s goal preserved the high level at which the B’s center has produced. Since Jan. 11, Krejci has not gone more than two consecutive games without a point. He has five (1 G, 4 A) over his last five games.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- Zdeno Chara went missing for a bit. After his shift with 2:46 remaining in the second period, the Bruins captain was not on the bench, and he was nowhere to be seen as the third period began. He ended up returning to the at 3:05 and playing the third period without appearing hindered, so the B’s seem to have dodged a bullet after a scare to one of their most important players.

- Toronto initially got on the board because a puck deflected off former Leaf Tomas Kaberle. The tally was credited to Luke Schenn. The goal also gave Schenn goals against Thomas in the last two meetings between the two clubs. Not bad for Schenn considering he’s scored just three other times this season.

- Schenn’s first-period tally broke up Thomas’ shutout streak at 1:22:21. For a while it seemed it would take a flukey goal to end the streak, and it did.

- Bruins fans seemed to dislike hearing a Phil Kessel assist being announced more than they did seeing a Toronto goal scored. The former Bruin picked up helpers on both of Lupul’s goals.

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Bruins lead Maple Leafs after two at 8:46 pm ET
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After not scoring in the first period, the Bruins got production early in the second and lead the Maple Leafs, 3-2.

Brad Marchand got the Bruins on the board when he scored a beautiful short-handed goal at 2:09. It was Marchand’s fifth shorthanded tally of the season, putting him in a three-way tie for second in the NHL. Fifty-nine seconds later, David Krejci took a pass from Milan Lucic in front of the net and put it past James Reimer for his 13th goal of the season. With the assist, Lucic became the 10th player of the post-lockout NHL to have 30 goals, 30 assists and 100 penalty minutes in a single season. Lucic celebrated the mark later in the period by fighting Jay Rosehill.

After a Joffrey Lupul goal tied the game at two goals apiece, Andrew Ference put a slapshot through the legs of Reimer for a soft five-hole strike.

The Bruins held a 19-7 advantage in shots on goal in the period and are outshooting the Leafs, 27-17, after two.

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