The Captain’s cooking.
Brad Marchand scored a natural hat trick in the third period to propel the Bruins to a 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Sunday night at TD Garden.
As Marchand watched the bullgang round up the hats that rained down from all precincts, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons blared through the sound system.
“You’re just too good to be true …”
It was an apt choice as Marchand, just one night after connecting for an overtime winner in Toronto, was Boston’s pacesetter once again.
The win capped an emotional weekend for Marchand, who learned that his maternal grandmother, Frances O’Leary, passed Friday.
“I don’t know if you could tell, but I was pretty emotional coming off the ice [in Toronto], it kind of all hit me in that moment,” said Marchand, who said his whole family watched the win over the Maple Leafs at his grandfather’s house. “It was a good moment for the family [during] a tough time.”
Trailing 1-0 after giving up a goal in the final minute of the second period — noted Boston killer Boone Jenner put home a Mathieu Olivier pass on Jeremy Swayman’s doorstep — the Bruins hit the ice with purpose in the third, taking their cues from their captain.
Marchand scored his first at 1:56, one-timing a no-look cross-slot pass from Danton Heinen past previously unbeatable Columbus goalie Spencer Martin.
Marchand then added a pair of power-play strikes, the first a backfoot snapper that Martin never saw for a 2-1 lead, and then a wrister from the top of the right circle to complete the trick.
His three goals in 7:46 of the third period are the third-fastest three goals by one player to begin a period in Bruins history, behind Leo Labine (7:01) on Nov. 28, 1954, and Bobby Bauer (7:30) on Nov. 20, 1946.
“He’s just a special player. It’s what he’s done his whole career,” said Charlie McAvoy, who picked up assists on the second and third tallies. “So, it was awesome to see not only [Saturday] night for him to get the winner but then to carry it over.
“He means the world to this group and when he’s in that zone; we’ve got to follow along.”
Marchand’s winner in Toronto snapped a five-game pointless streak and an eight-game drought without a goal.
“I really wasn’t too concerned about it. I felt like I was having three or four really good opportunities to score every night, and that’s how the game goes,” said Marchand, who now has 11 goals on the season. “Sometimes you get one shot and you get a goal, and sometimes you get 10 and you don’t get one.
“So, I don’t judge my game based on if I score or not. It’s more about how the details are going and if opportunities are there, if you’re consistently getting them, they’re going to go in eventually. So, I wasn’t really worried about it. I’ve learned at this point in my career that that’s how the game goes.”
The Bruins (17-4-3) have now won three straight, and their recent three-game skid seems like ancient history. The way Marchand conducted himself throughout that slump impressed Jim Montgomery more than his recent offensive explosion.
“I think his leadership stood out more while we were going through our adversity and losing,” the coach said. “How well he led us in his practice habits and helping the team dig in on the checking part of our game.”
While Marchand propelled the offense, Swayman (24 saves) held the fort at the other end. Swayman, who improved to 9-1-2, has given up just one goal in two games since being pulled against these same Blue Jackets in a loss in Columbus a week ago.
“It’s a big response, especially losing to these guys the last time,” he said. “And I think it was really special for us to get our legs early and stay on top of them the whole period — all three periods.”
Swayman couldn’t help but tip his cap to Marchand — along with the hundreds of fans who threw their caps for the captain — who scored his goals from the left side, center ice, and the right side.
“He’s a world-class player and he is going to keep goalies guessing. He does that in practice all the time. So, I get a front row seat for his talent every day,” said Swayman. “I’m really happy he’s on our team.”