Bruins' Brad Marchand Placed on COVID-19 List, Out vs. Sabres

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2021

Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand (63) during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Thursday, March 18, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy announced left winger Brad Marchand will miss Saturday's game against the Buffalo Sabres since he was placed on the NHL's COVID-19 protocol list.

Trent Frederic was elevated to the Bruins' top line to replace Marchand, while forwards Jack Studnicka and Zach Senyshyn were added to the lineup.

Marchand has established himself as one of the NHL's best offensive players over the past five years. His 391 points (149 goals, 242 assists) since the start of the 2016-17 season rank fifth over that span, per Quant Hockey.

The 32-year-old Canadian has tallied 12 goals and 22 assists across 29 appearances this season.

Frederic has earned praise throughout the campaign by embracing a defense-first, high-energy role in the bottom six. Marchand applauded his efforts early this month:

"He's been doing a great job. He definitely brings energy to the group and we feed off of what he's bringing [with] his physicality. And when he's strong on pucks in the corner, it creates energy for the group. We need him to keep doing that. He's a talkative kid, which is always great in the room and on the bench, and we can feed off of. I really liked his game so far this year and continue to grow."

Now Frederic will get a chance to spotlight the offensive side of his game while playing alongside Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak for at least one contest.

Boston heads into Saturday's clash with Buffalo with 37 points (16-8-5 record), which rank fourth in the East Division. It's three points clear of the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers for the division's final playoff berth, and the B's also have three games in hand over those teams.

Meanwhile, the Sabres (6-22-4) are riding a 16-game losing streak and traded veteran center Eric Staal to the Montreal Canadiens on Friday as their perpetual rebuilding effort continues.

Puck drop is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET at TD Garden in Boston.