BOSTON - Generally, when the postgame discussion is centered around Brad Marchand's actions during a heated scrum, the dialogue isn't all that positive.
The pesky winger has, of course, been known for his share of shenanigans when it comes to gatherings after a whistle. But on Thursday night some wise in-scrum awareness may have saved the Bruins.
After Jordan Staal drove Chris Wagner into the end boards from behind early in the third period, Connor Clifton stepped in to defend his teammate, jabbing Staal with his stick, before attempting to wrap him into a headlock.
The maneuver did not last long. Marchand, realizing that the Bruins were about to get a power play, stepped in and pushed Clifton away to avoid any kind of matching penalties.
"He's turning over a new leaf, eh?" Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said with a smirk. "Marchy…listen, he's been in these big games. He's a Stanley Cup Champion, so he understands maybe a little more than meets the eye sometimes. There's a time and a place where you really have to be disciplined.
"I mean, you have to be disciplined at all times, but there's certainly other times where you really have to put yourself in check, so it was great for him to do that. It helped us, right?"
Video: Cassidy standouts in the Game 1 victory
That it did. Marcus Johansson went on to score toward the end of the man advantage to tie the game and just 28 seconds later, on a separate power play, Patrice Bergeron whacked home the eventual winner - with Marchand picking up the primary assist on both - as Boston struck for four unanswered in the third period en route to a 5-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final at TD Garden.
"I thought the third was the way we want to play," said Bergeron. "And not going to lie, the second goal got us going and got the momentum on our side, and then we got rolling. But yeah, the third period is a little more of the type of game that we want to bring."
With the Bruins trailing, 2-1, just seconds into the third period, Wagner took the heavy hit into the boards to the right of Tuukka Rask (29 saves), putting Staal in the box for boarding. Boston, which had struggled to generate much on its previous two power plays, was having trouble finding its footing on the man advantage once again.
But as the Bruins began to switch out to their second unit with time running out on the penalty, they were able to settle into some in-zone possession and deliver with some stellar puck movement. David Krejci and Torey Krug played give-and-go along the boards, before Krejci fed Marchand at the top of the right circle.
Marchand's one-timer bounced off Carolina goalie Petr Mrazek to the top of the crease, where Johansson battled through traffic to roof the rebound and tie the game 2-2 at 2:26 of the third.
"I think I've been there most of my career on the power play - around the net - so I'm pretty comfortable there and those greasy ones feel pretty good sometimes," said Johansson, whose goal was his third of the postseason and gave him seven points (three goals, four assists) over his last eight games.
"I've felt good. I think this time of year, as long as the team is winning, I think anyone would feel good. Couldn't care less about who scores and who does what, as long as we get it done together, that's the main thing. And I think that's one of the strengths of this team, that we have 20 guys that can do it and I think we've showed that more than once."
Video: CAR@BOS, Gm1: Bruins net two quick PPGs for lead
Just 15 seconds after Johansson's marker, Carolina was whistled for another penalty when Dougie Hamilton interfered with Joakim Nordstrom along the wall in the Hurricanes' end. With TD Garden still abuzz from the tying tally, Boston struck one again.
Jake DeBrusk made two terrific plays to get things started, first diving to swat a puck away from Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce. The puck made its way up to the point, where David Pastrnak sent it back down to DeBrusk, who was still down on the ice.
The puck ricocheted off DeBrusk, who then delivered a feed across the slot to Marchand at the far post. Marchand quickly found Bergeron in the slot for the eventual winning goal at 2:54 of the third.
"The puck was bouncing too," said DeBrusk. "I tried to sauce it, to be honest with you, but it was just meant to be. If I tried that again it wouldn't happen. I think I actually deflected it off their defenseman's stick too…it was a big time to score that goal for us, it was awesome to be a part of it."
Two goals in 28 seconds - and one wise choice by Marchand - to change the tide in Game 1, and possibly the series.
"Good for Brad," said Cassidy, whose team got insurance tallies from local boys Charlie Coyle (empty net) and Chris Wagner (breakaway) 11 seconds apart with just over two minutes remaining.
"We've put an 'A' on his shirt at times this year for a reason, and I'm glad to see that he made that decision tonight."
Video: Kampfer and Johansson contribute goals in Game 1