Bruins Marchand Closing In On 100-Point Season

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Jack McCarthy  |  Follow Me On Twitter @73johnnymac

With three assists in Boston’s 6-3 defeat of the New York Rangers at TD Garden on Wednesday night, Bruins winger Brad Marchand has moved to 97 points on the season and now has his sights firmly set on becoming the first Bruins player to hit that milestone since Joe Thornton had 101 points in the 2002-03 season.

With five games remaining it remains to be seen if Marchand will join Joe Thornton as the only 100-point Bruins in the last quarter century.  Prior to Thornton, the last Bruin to eclipse the century mark was Adam Oates in the 1993-94 season with a 112 point effort.

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It would be in Marchand’s best interest to bank the remaining three points he needs as quickly as possible as Head Coach Bruce Cassidy will likely be looking to rest many of his star players in the regular season’s final couple of games.  A look ahead to the Bruins final game of the season, at home against the President Trophy winning Tampa Bay Lightning on April 6th is one that could see both teams sit a number of regulars in preparation for their respective first-round playoff matchups.   The Bruins are closing in on 2nd place in the Atlantic Division (and home ice advantage in the first round) with a 6-point lead on the Toronto Maple Leafs with only 5 games to play for each club.

The evolution of Brad Marchand has been an amazing ride for the Boston Bruins and their fans over the past decade.  A third round (71st overall) draft pick in 2006, Marchand has evolved into one of the elite players in the game.  It hasn’t always been easy, his agitating style and propensity for playing on the edge has meant that it has taken a long time for Marchand to earn the respect of officials, opposing players and coaches, hockey media, and opposition fan bases, the latter of which remains in question.  There is no doubt, however, that his game has reached a level that warrants mention among the elite players in the game today.

( Photo Credit: Joel Auerbach, Getty Images )

As he puts the finishing touches on leading his club in scoring for the third consecutive season and fourth time in his career, the focus will be on continuing to play the game right, remaining fresh and healthy, and avoiding any run-ins with the NHL Department of Player Safety that could de-rail his opportunity to become a 100-point player in the league.  Bruins fans will recall that two seasons ago, Marchand was on the cusp of achieving a significant personal milestone and becoming a 40-goal scorer in the NHL when he speared Tampa Bay’s Jake Dotchin in game 80 of the regular season.  Marchand was suspended for the final two games of the regular season and finished on 39 goals for the campaign.  If anything good has come out of past indiscretions, it may be that Marchand has finally matured into an elite NHL winger who can play on the edge when needed but increasingly has the ability to skate away from the trouble that dogged him so much earlier in his career.

Whether Marchand reaches the 100-point mark or not remains to be seen over the next five games, but there is no question about how valuable a player Marchand has become for the Boston Bruins.   Fans will be cheering hard for one of their favorites to achieve this milestone but at the same time realize that preservation and preparation for the playoffs is going to be paramount over the final week and a half of the regular season.

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Entering the 2018-19 NHL season, just 109 players in league history had scored 100 or more points in a season, and only 9 members of the Bruins had achieved the feat.  Brad Marchand will have the opportunity to join those exclusive lists while eyeing a more significant goal, a deep playoff run and a march toward his second Stanley Cup championship.

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