Any productivity is, most technically speaking, better than no productivity. Timely productivity, however, juts out with extra virtual value.
Given the opponent at hand, his history with the opponent and when he clicked against that opponent, Brad Marchand could not have been much more emphatic with the points he posted on Sunday.
Marchand went thoroughly scoreless in the six-game championship series against the Blackhawks last spring. His sluggish pace carried over into this past autumn, though he started to rekindle his touch as fall transitioned to winter.
Facing Chicago for the first time in the current campaign, Marchand ensured his first three-game goal-scoring and point-getting streak since last year’s Pittsburgh playoff series. He did that with a last-minute, 1-1 equalizer, collecting a backhand pass from Patrice Bergeron and roofing a snap shot from the faceoff circle to the opposite shelf.
Few types of goals can generally rival the impact of one scored on the cusp of an intermission. Except, perhaps, one that comes on a fresh sheet within the first minute of another period.
Marchand tossed that in to break the tie he had forged with only 50 seconds gone in the middle frame. He accepted a cross-ice pass from Reilly Smith in the neutral zone and strolled in uncontested to feed the five-hole, spawning a 2-1 lead.
With that, Marchand ensured himself four goals and five points in his last three outings, including multipoint performances versus Chicago and Toronto.
For what it’s worth, he kept up his individual momentum by burying Boston’s only shootout conversion, which was not sufficient to pick up the extra point. But the solitary point would not have been possible without his regulation output and appeared in doubt in the wee phases of the game.
On that note…