There was no demonstration, such as taking a monkey off his back. But for Brad Marchand, Friday’s goal and assist against the Rangers marked another step in the winger’s progression from his early-season struggles.
It wasn’t a perfect game for Marchand — there were inconsistencies in his play — but it did mark his first multipoint effort this season, with a better all-around performance from his second line.
“We got some lucky bounces,” Marchand said. “I think our line has been connecting a lot better the last 10 games or so. We’ve just got to keep building on that and hopefully they keep going in.”
Asked in what ways that is evident, Marchand said, “I think right now we’re moving our feet a little more in the offensive zone and supporting each other a bit more.
“Earlier in the year I think we left each other out on an island a bit and we seemed to be battling one or two guys by ourselves with no support, so I think we’re doing a little better job with that and breaking out. We’re doing a little better, too, just supporting each other and knowing where we’re going to be.”
Marchand’s line moved the puck well on the first-period possession that ended in Marchand’s goal, which came off a pass by Zdeno Chara. The line got a second goal, by Patrice Bergeron on a feed from Marchand, to tie the game at 2 just 1:35 into the third period.
“That’s my spot, you know,” Marchand said of his one-timer from the right circle. “It’s nice to get a goal like that. Bit of a lucky bounce too, though, it hit his shoulder and went in.”
Marchand knew it would take time to turn his season around. His previous goal came Nov. 15 against Ottawa, and he had just two points in the six games that followed. He now has four goals and seven assists this year.
“It’s not going to happen overnight,” Marchand said. “It’s a process and you just want to keep working at it. I’m not looking toward the next game or the game after that — I want to be the best I can be at the end of the year for playoff time, so I’ve got to make sure I work on it. Each game you want to get better and continue to improve.”
And Bergeron sees that happening. As he said, “I think lately [Marchand’s] picked it up with the way that he moves his feet and I think when he does that, he creates a lot of chances for our line but also for himself and I think he backs the defensemen up a bit, which gives him more skating room. He was really good for us and gave us a lot of chances by his vision, but also by his skating.”
Marchand let his struggles get into his head early in the season. He said he has a better mind-set now.
“I was frustrated and worried about points and putting up numbers and stuff like that,” said Marchand. “I think I had the wrong mind-set there; it was more about the things you’ve got to do to get there and different areas of the game that I had to improve.
“So I think once I just calmed down and worried about playing my game and letting everything else go, then I felt a lot better.”
Back line stronger
Adam McQuaid returned to the Bruins Wednesday against the Red Wings, and fellow defenseman Dennis Seidenberg joined him Friday, putting the team back at full strength on the blue line.
Seidenberg missed the previous four games with a lower-body injury. McQuaid’s lower-body injury cost him eight games.
“[McQuaid] and Seidenberg today kind of gave us the opportunity to kind of get our pairs back together where they’re a little bit more comfortable,” said coach Claude Julien. “And I think it’s not just Adam but also Seidenberg being in there [that] kind of stabilized that part of it a little bit more.”
“Felt good,” said Seidenberg, who was minus-1 in 24:43 of ice time. “It was nice to be back on the ice, playing with the guys. The best thing is we got a win.”
Asked if he played with any hesitation, Seidenberg said, “No, not at all. That’s why I skated the last few days, made sure I’m fine to play, and that was the case . . . I felt pretty confident out there, pretty solid, and that’s what you want. You want to make sure before you come back that you are 100 percent and that was the case.”
Host with the most
Shawn Thornton and his wife hosted several teammates, including McQuaid, Dougie Hamilton, Gregory Campbell, Reilly Smith, and Milan Lucic, for a Thanksgiving feast on Thursday after the Bruins practiced at TD Garden. Thornton twice ended up without a place to celebrate Thanksgiving earlier in his career, and now makes sure to host his teammates, especially those who are single. Hamilton gave a thumbs-up to the food . . . The Bruins are 8-2-0 in games with at least one fight, and 50-22-3 since the start of the 2011-12 season in games in which they’ve gotten a fighting major . . . Chara’s fighting major was the fifth of his career and third as a Bruin, the last coming Dec. 17, 2011.