A reminder that Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron make penalty-killing more fun than it should be

Scott McLaughlin
October 13, 2019 - 1:04 am

A good penalty kill generating some momentum for the team doing the killing isn't unique. Big saves and blocks are a surefire way to get your teammates (and the crowd if it's a home game) pumped up.

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But at Saturday night's Bruins home opener, we got a reminder that Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron can take things to another level. Not content to merely play good defense, the duo frequently go on the attack and generate possession and chances at the other end of the ice.

They did it twice in Saturday's 3-0 win over the Devils, each time bringing the crowd to its feet and raising questions about which team was actually on the power play.

This shift in the second period, in particular, is a penalty-killing masterclass. Just watch it, or rewatch it, and be awed.

It looks like they're toying with the Devils (who, it's worth noting, have yet to score a power-play goal this season). Even the couple times when they briefly lose possession, they stay on the attack and win the puck right back.

What's going through Marchand's head during a shift like this? While killing time and preventing the opponent from even thinking about getting set up is nice, Marchand wants to score.

"Every time I'm thinking try to create a scoring chance," Marchand said. "A lot of guys, they're coming in, swinging off you and going back up ice again, so you can look them off and hold on an extra second and normally give yourself a little bit of extra space. Sometimes I get myself in trouble doing that, but it is what it is."

It's that kind of mindset that has Marchand consistently among the league leaders in shorthanded goals. Opposing power plays must account for what Marchand and Bergeron can do, or risk getting exposed.

Once those two get rolling, good luck getting the puck away from them. And it's that part of the equation that Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy highlights as the most important. Not only do the Bruins and their fans get a boost, but the opponent gets demoralized. Imagine having a man advantage and spending 40 seconds of it chasing the puck?

"It's good for the crowd. I think our guys are used to it. I think what it does more is it deflates the other team," Cassidy said. "If that's our power play and I see a team doing that, frustration sets in for the coaching staff, the players on the ice are frustrated. So I think it does more to demoralize the opposition than it does to pump us up."

Marchand and Bergeron's efforts Saturday night didn't lead to a shorthanded goal (although they did both score -- Marchand at even strength and Bergeron on the power play), but they did help lead the Bruins to a perfect 4-for-4 night on the kill, a welcome sight after going just 2-for-5 on the PK in the final two games of their Western road trip.