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Bruins' Marchand left morning skate before OT winner

by Matt Kalman

BOSTON -- Some guys will do anything to get out of the morning skate.

Brad Marchand
Brad Marchand
Left Wing - BOS
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 5
SOG: 20 | +/-: 0

In Brad Marchand's case, Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien will take what his wing is giving.

Marchand left the morning skate early Thursday because of an injury characterized as minor sustained during a 2-on-1 drill. He then looked 100 percent healthy in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Rangers and ended the night by scoring the game-winning goal in overtime at TD Garden.

The Bruins, who won 3-2, play host to Game 2 Sunday (3 p.m., NBC, RDS, TSN).

"Like I said this morning, there was nothing there; it was very minor," Julien said. "It might have looked major to you guys, but it was very minor and that's why I said, 'He's going to be fine tonight.' I think that's what he needed to do, get off the ice early so he could score that winning goal. Whatever works is good for us.

"I thought Brad, personally, I thought that was one of his better games so far in the playoffs. He skated well, made some great plays, he took pucks to the net, and that's the Brad Marchand that we know. It was nice to see him really bring his A game to the table tonight."

Though Julien wasn't concerned, it is news when the Bruins' leading goal-scorer from the regular season has to bail out before an on-ice workout is concluded. Marchand, however, said he wasn't concerned about having to miss a big game.

"No, no, I wasn't worried at all. I'm serious; I wanted to get off the ice," Marchand said. "Claude knows I hate morning skates. He used to yell at me when we won the [Stanley] Cup there because I wouldn't even take a stride. I just wanted to get off early."

Marchand certainly had plenty of energy in the victory; he had an assist, fired three shots on net, and grabbed two takeaways in 22:17 of ice time. The night proved a major turnaround for Marchand, who followed his 18-goal regular season with none in the seven-game, first-round win against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"Yeah, it's a whole new series, and we're happy to play the Rangers," Marchand said. "They're a very good team and a very good battle. It's nice to finally get one there and get the monkey off the back, and hopefully they keep coming."

Marchand's goal drought was 11 games dating to the regular season. He's scored two goals in 14 games since missing two with a concussion. He's enough of an established veteran to know how to get himself out of a slump, but a little advice from a former teammate went a long way too. Marchand recently received a text from Mark Recchi.

"He just texted me and told me to play my game and not to worry about anything else," Marchand said. "The goals and stuff will come. It's nice to hear from him. He's obviously a guy that I went through a lot when I played with him, and it was good to hear from him again."

If Marchand can duplicate his Game 1 performance during this series, no one will have to send him any more advice. Maybe all he needs is less ice time during morning skate.

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