BostonBruins.com - There are no shortage of impressive statistics surrounding Brad Marchand's recent surge to the top of the NHL's scoring race. The Bruins winger leads the league in goals and points since Jan. 1. He potted his second career hat trick in a dominant third-period performance in Boston's win over Vancouver last week.
His league-high nine points (five goals, four assists) over the Bruins' last three games - of which they won two - earned him the NHL's First Star of the Week on Monday afternoon.
But the flashy offensive numbers and torrid goal scoring are not the only aspects of Marchand's game that have been at the forefront of his success. The 28-year-old has remained one of the Black & Gold's top penalty killers and most responsible 200-foot players, while providing a blend of leadership and dependability during some of the Bruins' most important moments.
"Lately he's just determined to score every time he has the puck," said interim head coach Bruce Cassidy. "It hasn't affected his 200-foot game. He's still one of our best penalty killers, one of our best five-on-five players away from the puck.
"He could always shoot it, he could always finish, but now he's making even more plays. If he's not leading our team in power-play points, he's tied. It's an area he's really grown.
"Not much else to say. A guy that's got a complete game right now…and he's hot."
Video: BOS@VAN: Marchand records hatty on long empty-netter
Marchand has 20 points (12 goals, eight assists) over his last 11 games and 48 points (27 goals, 21 assists) over his last 31 contests. He ranks second in the NHL in goals (37), just behind his former World Cup of Hockey linemate and fellow Nova Scotia native Sidney Crosby (40). Marchand's 79 points also place him second behind Crosby and Connor McDavid (80).
"He's a leader of our hockey team that he knows the urgency of where we are in the season, game in and game out, and he wants to extend the season, there's no doubt about it, and it shows every night," said Cassidy, whose team sat three points ahead of Toronto for third place in the Atlantic Division ahead of the teams' Monday night showdown.
"He's pulled some guys along…he's one of the heart and soul guys of this team, and at both ends of the ice."
This was made clear during Marchand's stellar third period against the Canucks. Down by a goal entering the third period, Marchand put the Bruins on his back, potting three goals in the final frame - including the tying and winning tallies - to lift Boston to a 6-3 victory.
"When we need somebody to pick us up, he's often the guy who kind of takes over the game and scores a big point or makes a big play, and [the Vancouver game] was a great example, obviously," said Tuukka Rask, who has had a front-row seat to Marchand's entire eight-year Bruins career.
Many have pointed to Marchand's success at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey as the starting point for his assent to being one of the NHL's elite. The winger joined Crosby and Bergeron to form one of the most potent lines in the tournament, during which he notched had eight points (five goals, three assists), once again second to Crosby (10 points).
"I think he just keeps improving from one year to another," said Bergeron. "This year he took an even further step forward. From the World Cup on he took off. He's definitely an elite player and super star in this league. I think he's proving that right now. He's been a lot of fun to watch, but also a lot of fun to play with."
Video: BOS@EDM: Marchand nets Bergeron's smooth feed
For Marchand, the feeling is mutual. Throughout his hot streak, he has deflected praise and pointed to the play of his teammates for helping to elevate his performance.
"I think playing with [David Pastrnak] and Bergy for most of the year and now having [David] Backes, they're all having great years….[I'm] just kind of feeding off those guys," said Marchand.
Marchand has been side by side with Bergeron for almost his entire career, forming one of the NHL's most formidable tandems.
"There's not many guys that are good as he is at his position," said Marchand who now has back-to-back 37-goal seasons to become the first Bruin with consecutive 30-goal campaigns since Glen Murray in 2002-03 and 2003-04.
"I think its work ethic that really allows him to stand out from most. He's consistently trying to get better and working on his game, the way he takes care of himself and his body is very impressive.
"He's one of those guys that you watch, he's the type of leader and guy that you need to win. That's why he's won everything, World Cup, Olympic Gold, Stanley Cup."
It seems that these days that is a fitting description of Marchand, too.
Video: BOS@VAN: Marchand lifts backhander for game-tying PPG