“Our team’s been playing so well, and I don’t want a selfish act like that to impact how well the team can do,” he said following Saturday’s morning skate at TD Garden. “Hopefully they can win without me, which I know they can, and again, I’ll get back in against Colorado.”
Added Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien, “I think the league made its decision, and I know they’re certainly trying to cut down on slew-footing, so we have to respect it and move on.”
Marchand is slated to miss Saturday’s matchup against Columbus and the first of two upcoming road games against Dallas and Colorado. He said he doesn’t dispute the League’s decision and will be ready to contribute again once he is back in the lineup on Wednesday.
“They made their decision, and I have to live with that,” he said. “It could be worse — it could be three or four [games] — so I’ve got to be happy that it’s not, and hopefully the guys do well without me and I get back in against Colorado.
“[The play] is definitely on the edge, for sure. It’s a dangerous play, no doubt, and it’s one thing they’re trying to get out of the game. It ultimately is their decision, and again, I’ve got to live with it.”
Marchand contended he had no intent to injure Brassard and had no intent to even kick out his skates during the play. The referees did not call a penalty, and Brassard did not leave the game.
“Going into the play, it wasn’t what I was trying to do,” Marchand said. “I was trying to make a hard hit, and I was trying to throw him backwards, but I didn’t intend to kick his feet out. Things happen. It’s a quick game, and plays in hockey are going to happen that are questionable, and you’ve got to live with it.”
The winger has been suspended twice in the past and has been fined for slew-footing on one occasion, but ultimately, he doesn’t believe his history left him with a heftier sanction than he would have received otherwise.
“They’re fair with all their decisions around the league, and I do have a past, so maybe it played into it a little bit,” he said. “But I have been trying to play within the rules and change my game — I think that’s pretty clear — but again, I play a hard game, and I’m going to do things that are questionable at times.
“So I’ve got to live with it, and the way that they discipline me — I’ve got to live with it.”
Paille Expected to Slot in on Bergeron Line
With Marchand out for the next two games, Daniel Paille is expected to slot into Marchand’s usual spot on Patrice Bergeron’s left wing.
Paille has been up and down from Bergeron’s line to the fourth line to ever since getting a look with Bergeron in a Jan. 7 win at Pittsburgh, and playing there is an opportunity he relishes.
“If that opportunity comes [on Saturday], I definitely am going to enjoy the experience,” he said. “At the same time, you’ve got to learn to stay neutral and realize that you do what you can for the time being.”
Paille — who has spent most of the season on a fourth line that hasn’t had the benefit of the stability it has had in years past — has struggled to produce offensively this year, but ever since he got that first look with Bergeron’s line, he has been able to create more opportunities for himself and for his linemates.
Against the Blue Jackets, that is precisely what he seeks to continue doing.
“I think for myself, personally, I talk about it all the time — just [that] the year hasn’t been going great,” he said. “In terms of how my game is going, I was — I wouldn’t say a lack of confidence, but just frustrated with everything going against the other way.
“The game against Pittsburgh, when [Julien] moved me up with Bergy, it changed my perspective in a lot of ways in how to look at things. Probably didn’t deserve to be moved up with Bergy that time, but definitely thankful that I was because it helped me realize that there’s a lot more to it than stats.”
In that game against Pittsburgh, Paille finished with a plus-1 rating and an assist on Bergeron’s second-period goal, which gave Boston a 2-1 lead at the time. Paille has certainly proven capable on Bergeron’s wing, and Julien expects no different from him if he slots in on the second line on Saturday night.
And while Marchand’s absence does leave a hole in the lineup, Julien is confident that the other options on his roster — Paille included — will be able to fill that gap just fine until Wednesday night.
“I’d like to see [Paille on Bergeron’s line],” Julien said. “He’s certainly one of those guys that can skate, but if that doesn’t work out, we’ve got some other guys that can step up as well.”
Avenging the Loss
No one in Black and Gold has forgotten what happened the last time they faced the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was the first game after the Christmas break, and Boston had just been starting to find its game after stringing together two straight wins over Buffalo and Nashville heading into the break.
Then, against Columbus, things seemed to fall apart. The Bruins didn’t get off to the kind of start they needed to, and although they were able to knot the score at 1 after allowing Columbus to strike first, they didn’t have any answers in a difficult second period during which they allowed three unanswered goals to fall into a hole they couldn’t climb out of.
The Bruins would end up falling 6-2. They don’t intend to let that happen again in the season finale between these two teams.
“We really don’t want to change too much of the last five games that we’ve played,” Paille said. “We’ve played fairly well throughout the whole game, and limited our mistakes to a fair amount.
“Columbus, even though they’re not in the playoffs right now, they are a hard-working team that doesn’t quit, and they certainly took it to us the last time we played them.”
Of course, the Bruins are in a much different place this Saturday than they were three Saturdays ago when that loss occurred. They have strung together five wins, tying a season-long winning streak, and they seem to have rediscovered the consistency and the edge they need in order to forge that success.
“I think that winning makes a difference,” said defenseman Zdeno Chara. “The attitude and the approach — you have players playing with more confidence, and it’s exciting.
“We just know we didn’t play a good game last time we played these guys, so our focus is obviously [to] continue to play the way we’ve been playing lately and improve the things we need to improve.”
Projected Lineup vs. Columbus
Milan Lucic — David Krejci — David Pastrnak
Daniel Paille — Patrice Bergeron — Reilly Smith
Chris Kelly — Carl Soderberg — Loui Eriksson
Jordan Caron — Gregory Campbell — Craig Cunningham
Zdeno Chara — Dougie Hamilton
Dennis Seidenberg — Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug — Kevan Miller
Starting Goaltender: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Niklas Svedberg