For all those who of you who have gotten to know me, you know that Brad Marchand is my favorite member of the Boston Bruins. We’re the same height, and in our lives we’ve been asked to go up against much larger and stronger guys, and prove we can compete with them. I have also liked the fact that while he is a good person outside of the rink, he can be an obnoxious little SOB inside of it. He’s feisty, and he’s chirpy and he used that as part of his skill set to be the leading scorer for us in the regular season.
Those skills have done well for him in the post season. Currently, he is fifth on the team for points in the postseason. (Nine points, two goals.) When asked his take on the role of the Bruins as underdogs, Marchand was his usual slightly flippant self. “That’s how it goes sometimes,” Marchand said. “Obviously, they are the favorites. They have some guys that are very skilled and very talented, and they have the two best players in the world . . . and then you add Iginla. And their third and fourth line are playing so well right now.” (Personally, I think our fourth line is better, and we’ve got the better team dynamic.)
Then Marchand got a little serious. “We’re in over our heads. We’ve got a big job to do. We’re all excited to try it out and see how it goes …”
“Things can happen in hockey, and you can get some good bounces. Hopefully we get some of those,” Marchand said. “In any seven-game series you definitely want to wear the other guys down, especially their top guys. But Pittsburgh is a little different. They’ve got some very physical guys over there, and their third and fourth lines play very hard. Even the first line with [Chris] Kunitz and [Pascal] Dupuis, those are hard-working guys. Second line with Neal and Iginla, those guys will work, too. I think those guys will battle a lot harder than Vancouver did in the Finals.”
Over their heads? I don’t think so. The Bruins beat a Rangers team that was playing well. We had several advantages going into that series. We had a coach that had the respect of the players and the fans. (Sorry about the pink slip Tortorella, you probably knew it was coming the moment “It’s all on me.” parted your lips.) Second, we had a better line rotation than the Rangers did. The Penguins played an Ottawa team that was just too tired, and just too beat up.
Are the Penguins top two lines amazing? Yea, most Bruins fans won’t deny that. I think they’re still going to weak in an extended series. The Penguins can lose. They beat the Islanders because they overwhelmed Evgeni Nabokov, and the Islanders still took two games from them. If the Islanders can call the Penguins to task, certainly the Bruins can. Sure, the Penguins won all three regular season games (by ONE goal), at that point of the season, the Bruins were playing some sloppy defense, and it cost them. Those demons have all but been obliterated in the playoffs.
Underdogs? Perhaps. Outclassed? Certainly Not. The Bruins play the Penguins in game one on Saturday. We’ll find out who is outclassed then.