BOSTON — Brad Marchand’s nose is always taking a beating. By now, it is hard to keep track of the damage his beak has taken.
Sometimes you have to go to video review.
The clip below confirms that the postgame scab upon the bridge of Marchand’s nose was the handiwork of a first-period cross-check from Calgary’s Martin Pospisil, who hammered the Boston Bruins captain with enough muscle to draw blood.
Martin Pospisil gets a five-minute major and a game misconduct for cross-checking Brad Marchand. pic.twitter.com/lLjXvS1jYi
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 7, 2024
As for the third-period stick that MacKenzie Weegar whipped into Marchand’s face, the left wing pointed to the puffiness around his mouth as proof of where the defenseman’s Warrior landed.
“Can’t tell?” Marchand asked following the Bruins’ 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames, pointing to his upper lip. “The mouth.”
Marchand would have happily accepted his facial punishment had the Bruins made the Flames pay fully on both accounts. They did not.
Pospisil was tagged with a five-minute cross-checking major and a game misconduct. Marchand wiped out two-fifths of the major penalty because of his slashes on Jacob Markstrom that brought Pospisil swinging.
Even so, the Bruins did literally nothing on the ensuing three minutes of five-on-four time: zero pucks on net, and one shot attempt by Hampus Lindholm that was blocked by Connor Zary.
As for the four minutes of two-man advantage initiated by Weegar’s third-period carving (Brayden Pachal was already in the box for hooking), the Bruins made it a 2-1 game when Pavel Zacha scored at 4:14. Marchand was not on the ice for the goal. He was on the bench, still bleeding from Weegar’s impact.
Whatever momentum the five-on-three goal gave the Bruins for the second half of Weegar’s infraction disappeared. Charlie McAvoy stepped onto the ice as an unintended sixth attacker. Charlie Coyle spotted the infraction and tried to skate back to the bench. Coyle had two zones to cross.
There was nowhere to hide.
The Bruins were called for too many men. Less than a minute later, Jonathan Huberdeau won a puck in the Boston end and beat Jeremy Swayman high-glove.
“The power-play units got a little mixed up because of a late change,” coach Jim Montgomery said. “It’s just myself not communicating well enough to the players who had who on changes. So that’s my fault.”
It was not the only thing Montgomery blamed himself for doing.
The Bruins believed they had practiced well the two days prior to Tuesday’s showdown. They were looking to continue the 17-game segment that saw them roll off a 12-2-3 record. But the Bruins had nothing going early.
New Flame Andrei Kuzmenko, acquired in the Elias Lindholm trade, whistled a first-period puck past Swayman. Zary followed up by swatting a backhander through the All-Star goalie.
“I just didn’t think we were good,” Montgomery said. “Our effort was poor. Obviously as a coaching staff, you look inwardly and you look at our preparation. You always think, as a coach, your preparation was good. But obviously it wasn’t good enough. A lot of mental mistakes. A lot of physical mistakes. That’s a lack of real good preparation individually and collectively.”
The nature of the loss reminded the Bruins of two things. First, they could use an offensive presence on the wing to complement Marchand, David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk. The Bruins managed only 22 shots, in part because they didn’t have enough play-driving from the flanks. Trent Frederic had zero shots in 13:30 of ice time. Fellow third-liner Jakub Lauko had two shots in 10:21 of play.
Second, they require danger-zone loitering to generate offense. The Flames did well to get in front of Swayman and make the Bruins feel their physicality. The Bruins did not.
“They play hard,” Marchand said. “They were getting into it a lot after whistles. They were running around. We definitely didn’t push back enough the way we needed to to elevate to their level.”
(Photo of Brad Marchand and Calgary’s Blake Coleman: Bob DeChiara / USA Today)