PITTSBURGH — Boos rained down on Brad Marchand when he corralled a Sidney Crosby turnover near the Bruins’ blue line and made a quick breakaway with the puck on his stick. The Penguins had just completed their first shift Monday night and the Bruins’ pesky winger had already managed to agitate the Consol Energy Center crowd of 18,619.
“You don’t hear that stuff,’’ Marchand said. “You’re just so focused on what’s happening. We never hear what fans say during the game.’’
Oblivious to the vitriolic reaction he caused, Marchand hushed the building by burying a hard wrister to give the Bruins a shocking lead just 28 seconds into the Bruins’ 6-1 Steel City smackdown.
“That was the fast start that we were looking for,’’ said Milan Lucic. “And that goal really deflated the crowd.’’
It seemed to have a similar effect on the Penguins, who watched as their captain committed the miscue that gave the Bruins the lead.
“It felt like we probably tried to get it back and we might have took some chances to do that,’’ Crosby said. “I would agree that we started chasing there when we were down a couple, and once you start doing that doing that against a good hockey team, you start putting yourself in pretty bad positions.’’
Marchand’s goal, which ranks as the fastest recorded this postseason, triggered a three-goal first-period avalanche that led to Tomas Vokoun’s benching at 16:31. By the end of the night, Pittsburgh’s goaltending was in complete turmoil after replacement Marc-Andre Fleury allowed three more goals in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final.
“They’re both very good goalies and we just wanted to shoot as many pucks at them as we could, get bodies in front of them, and hope [the shots would] go in,’’ said Marchand, who wound up scoring two goals on four shots in 14:41 of ice time.
Shockingly, it wasn’t enough to earn Marchand the honor of donning the camouflage US Army Ranger jacket, which was given to Jaromir Jagr, who was credited with a pair of assists.
“Yeah, Jags played a great game tonight. He battled hard,’’ Marchand said. “I already have one at home.’’
After Brandon Sutter tallied Pittsburgh’s only goal at 19:26 of the first, Marchand seemed a shoo-in for the postgame honor when he answered just 26 seconds later, beating Fleury glove side top shelf as well.
“They were getting some momentum off of that goal there and we did a good job of kind of crushing that,’’ Marchand said. “It’s always a tough thing when a team scores after another one scores a big goal. So we were able to do that.’’
Again, Marchand silenced the restless crowd.
“Yeah, he had, I guess, a jump on his step tonight,” said Patrice Bergeron, “and when you see that you can tell the way he shoots the puck, also. He finds every loose puck, and that first goal was obviously huge.
“They had a good shift before that breakaway, and it was important to get that first one. And he carried that along with that second goal, which was a huge goal.
“He was turning the puck well and he was first on pucks and finding loose pucks all the time, and that’s what you need from a guy like him.’’Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.