|Marchant beat Luongo to the puck to set up this goal Wednesday night, his third in as many games. |
A symbol of versatility all season for the Ducks, Todd Marchant has recently stepped to the forefront of the Ducks attack, and is enjoying what might be his greatest success of the campaign.
The gritty 13-year veteran has a three game goal-scoring streak and each has been the first goal of the respective games. It is the best streak Marchant has enjoyed since another three-game stretch from Dec. 14-18, 2005 and the multi-faceted forward will look to equal his career high of four games (set Feb. 3-10, 1995 while with Edmonton) Saturday night against St. Louis.
“When you talk about fruits of the labor, I think it’s an instance where he’s being rewarded for the hard work that he’s been putting in,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle says.
Upping Marchant’s season total to eight, the three goals have not come in usual fashion. The first came just 21 seconds into last Sunday's bout with Montreal, when an intended pass deflected high off Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov and dropped into the net ( video). The second came Tuesday on a relatively simple backhand shot that slipped through goalie Ilya Bryzgalov’s pads ( video) . The most recent was Wednesday night when Marchant came out of the penalty box to beat Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo to the puck, after Luongo ill-advisedly came way out of the crease for it. Marchant made a move around him and shot it into the empty net ( video).
“None of them have been very pretty, to be honest,” Marchant says. “At the end of the day, no one really asks how. They all count. For all those opportunities that I had earlier in the year where maybe it should have gone in and didn’t, maybe it’s starting to happen for me.”
“I just roll with the punches on a daily basis. Some days you’re going to be playing one position, other days you’re not. Life is too short to dwell on those things. If it means me making a sacrifice for the team to win, well that’s what we’re here for. We’re not here for personal accolades or achievements.” - Todd Marchant
While his recent success has come as a right wing on the team’s second line with former Edmonton teammate Doug Weight at center and either Chris Kunitz and Todd Bertuzzi at left wing, Marchant has seen all the forward positions and lines the team has to offer this season. It has proved quite the commodity for Carlyle in filling out his lineup card amid injuries, trades and call-ups.
“He’s a utility player for us,” Carlyle says. “He plays in different situations. The one thing that we ask of Todd Marchant is to play all three forward positions and to utilize his speed. That’s important for us. We need to push that puck through the neutral ice and get people on the puck. He can put pressure on defensemen. That’s a key to him.”
Griping about where he plays is not part of Marchant’s psyche. He understands that one game he may be a checking center, followed by the next being an energy line left wing and then possibly a scoring line right wing. Brushing personal accomplishment to the side, Marchant’s ultimate goal is to help the team win games.
“I just roll with the punches on a daily basis,” Marchant says. “I’ve tried to maintain a pretty even keel when it comes to it. Some days you’re going to be playing one position, other days you’re not. Life is too short to dwell on those things. If it means me making a sacrifice for the team to win, well that’s what we’re here for. We’re not here for personal accolades or achievements.”
Intent on replicating last season’s triumph, Marchant and the rest of the Ducks are focused on the first step, capturing their second straight Pacific Division title. Currently two points back from first place San Jose and one behind Dallas, the Ducks will have their chances with eight division games to close out the season including two each against the Sharks and Stars.
“When you start the season and training camp, your goal is to win the division,” Marchant says. “We still have an opportunity to do it. We have games against those teams that we’re fighting with. It’s going to come down to those matchups. Right now, we’re trying to catch up to them, but it could change in a hurry. We have to continue to play the way we’re playing and even for that matter continue to get better in order for us to win the division.”
Having a player who epitomizes a team attitude thrive during the stretch run can only strengthen the Ducks’ chances going forward.
“Understanding that all hands on deck are required, your contribution -- how little or how large -- will be appreciated and it has an opportunity to have an impact,” Carlyle says. “I think that those are things that veteran players, players like Todd Marchant, have come to understand. That’s a huge contribution not just on the ice but off the ice.”