Seravalli: If history is any indication, Marchand could be poised for a big Game 7
BOSTON — They say history is the best predictor of the future, but good luck telling that to Brad Marchand.
The last time Lord Stanley’s residence was decided in Game 7, Marchand victimized the Vancouver Canucks in 2011 with a three-point night for the ages.
That was eight years ago, though, and it’s clear those memories weren’t keeping Marchand warm as a security blanket when he tried to sleep on Tuesday night.
“You look to your past experience for guidance and some comfort, but everything plays out differently,” Marchand said Tuesday. “Just because you’ve been through it before doesn’t mean it’s going to play out the same way.”
Marchand had more points in that one Cup-deciding Game 7 than any active Blues player has total in career Game 7 appearances in any playoff series.
Think about that for one second.
Somehow, people seem to remember Marchand more for repeatedly speed bagging Daniel Sedin throughout that series.
Along with current teammate Patrice Bergeron and former teammate Mark Recchi, Marchand is on a short list of six players in history with three-point games in the 16 previous Stanley Cup final Game 7s: New Jersey’s Mike Rupp (2003), Colorado’s Alex Tanguay (2001) and Montreal’s Dick Duff (1965).
Fire up YouTube or your favourite hockey time machine and watch the highlights. Marchand assisted on Bergeron’s Cup-clincher with a blind backhand pass, then wheeled a wraparound behind Roberto Luongo and sealed the win in the waning minutes.
When Marchand blew that empty-netter by defender Kevin Bieksa, it not only touched off riots in Vancouver but one raucous celebration across Boston.
Bruins forward Charlie Coyle, then 19, was watching in Weymouth, Mass.
“I remember exactly where I was. I was over at my buddy’s house watching, then I went to another friend’s house after they won,” Coyle said. “I just remember the town. Everybody was out of their house, horns were honking. It was really cool to see.”
Coyle was drafted by the San Jose Sharks the previous June, but was still a Bruins fan when they broke their 39-year drought on the back of Marchand.
“I tried to play it cool,” Coyle said. “But I was pretty excited to see them win.”
So was Marchand. He got that life-changing date, June 15, 2011, tattooed to his torso along with “Stanley Cup Champions” in script in the TD Garden locker room with a bunch of his teammates.
(Marchand later admitted that the artist spelled it “Champians” and had to make a correction.)
That tattoo is forever etched on Marchand like his name is on the Stanley Cup, but he has also worn the Bruins’ loss to the Blackhawks in 2013 for the last six years.
In some ways, going without a point in six games against Chicago has stuck with him more than the triumph in Vancouver. He spoke to his teammates before the series started about taking advantage of this opportunity, to not let it pass by.
Marchand was 23 when he was a monster in Vancouver. It was his first full season in the NHL. He didn’t know any better.
“Being on both sides of it, you realize how hard it is and just how [crappy] it is to lose,” Marchand said. “It sticks with you forever. Winning and losing sticks with you forever. You don’t forget anything that happens to you when you win, and you definitely don’t forget what happens when you lose.”
Marchand has been driven by that fear of losing.
“Once you lose, you realize how close it is,” Marchand said. “You get a taste, but you don’t get that victory and you don’t get to feel all the sensations of winning. It’s extremely difficult.”
This Stanley Cup final hasn’t been easy for Marchand. The postseason scoring leader has two goals – and none of them have come at even strength. There are questions abound about the health of him and his linemates.
But that’s all out the window now. It doesn’t matter that 12 of Marchand’s 23 postseason points have come on the power play. It doesn’t matter that three of his goals have gone into empty nets – one of them being a series saver against Toronto.
All that matters is producing goals. If Marchand does that, there’s a good chance the Bruins will win. Boston is 25-1 all-time in postseason games that Marchand scores in, including all eight games these playoffs.
Marchand’s 21 primary points – goals plus first assists – equal as many total points as any other player (Ryan O’Reilly) has in these playoffs.
Marchand is a lot of things to a lot of different people. He has been the NHL’s only 100-point player standing for three rounds now. He has been his perfectly pestilent self – Marchand doing Marchand things all playoffs.
Remember when he stomped on and snapped Cam Atkinson’s stick against the Blue Jackets? Or when he sucker punched Scott Harrington in the back of the head? How about when he tugged on Jordan Binnington’s pad as he skated by during a stoppage, causing the Blues’ netminder to tumble to the ice?
He will always be known for his antics. He has the chance to be remembered for something bigger now, as the Bruins’ Game 7 hero.
“I think every hockey player has dreamed at one point in their life they could be in a position like this,” Marchand said. “But it’s much different when you’re going through it, when you realize how exciting and how hard it is. It’s been a special adventure with this group. Hopefully it ends on a good note.”
Contact Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @frank_seravalli