(Photo Credit: Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

By: Jason Cooke | Follow me on Twitter / X @cookejournalism

It’s been quite the 24 hours for Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand. After scoring the overtime-winning goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night, the captain potted three consecutive goals in 5:50 on Sunday to propel the B’s past the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 3-1.

The last time the Bruins met with the Blue Jackets, they suffered a 5-2 loss in the final leg of their three-game skid to conclude the month of November. In an ugly defeat, Columbus outplayed Boston in about every category of the game in one of the season’s worst performances for the Black and Gold. It looked like the Bruins were on track for another letdown against a struggling Columbus team on Sunday night, entering the third period down 1-0. Marchand had other plans, exploding in the third period as the Bruins improved to 17-4-3.

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Marchand Gets Hot

Following his heroics in Saturday night’s overtime thriller over Toronto, Marchand has found his scoring groove after going eight games without a goal heading into the weekend. Marchand now has eight goals and 12 assists on the season for 20 points. On Sunday, his three goals were very similar; with quick release and pinpoint accuracy, Marchand scored all three goals from quick snapshots over Spencer Martin’s glove.

“They’re nice to get, they don’t come often,” Marchand said after his natural hat trick. “It’s just sometimes how it goes, you get the bounces, and sometimes you don’t.”

Marchand’s line of Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen was buzzing all game, eventually breaking through when Heinen found a streaking Marchand for Boston’s first tally in the third period. The decision to insert Heinen alongside Marchand and Coyle is the latest wrinkle in a constantly shifting Bruins roster.

“I think he’s been playing well,” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said of Heinen. “The whole first goal was all him, it’s great vision, and he takes the puck down the wall and puts it right on the tape seventy-five feet away. That’s a great play he made.”

Bruins Adjust Power Play

Headed into Sunday night’s matchup, the Columbus penalty kill percentage of 88.6% was good enough for second-best in the NHL. Given two opportunities on the man advantage in the first period, the Bruins went 0-2 while posting just two shots on goal. While the B’s possessed the puck, scoring opportunities were limited due to an aggressive kill that kept Boston to the outside while denying time and space.

However, the Bruins did produce one opportunity—Martin stoned Pavel Zacha at point-blank range on a feed from Marchand with a flash of the glove to keep the game scoreless. Boston’s power play was halted again in the second period, highlighted by another nifty save from Martin. This time, the 6’2″ goaltender showcased his lateral quickness, denying Jake DeBrusk and Coyle a give-and-go opportunity.

Boston adjusted their unit in the third period, swapping David Pastrnak and Marchand to their strong sides to create more speed toward the goal. In turn, Boston scored two power-play goals in the period.

“We were attacking downhill more in a shot-ready position,” said Marchand. “It was a good change up by the coaches there.”

So far this season, Boston’s power play has been average at best. Scoring on 21.9% of their opportunities going into Sunday’s matchup, their power play ranked 12th in the league. While holding the NHL’s best record, Boston’s power play is still miles behind the league’s top units, such as the New Jersey Devils (36.0%) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (31.8%). However, their ability to adjust on the fly is an encouraging step in the right direction.

Swayman Back on Track

Amidst Boston’s three-game collapse to close out the month of November, there was an abundance of problems circulating the Bruins style of play. Goaltending was undoubtedly one of them. In particular, Jeremy Swayman has rebounded nicely after a few unsatisfying outings, including being pulled in Boston’s last meeting with Columbus. Since then, he’s shut out the San Jose Sharks last week before allowing one goal on Sunday.

Swayman made 25 saves on Sunday, providing the Bruins time to find their offensive groove in the final period. He was alert and aggressive, making several critical saves throughout four Boston penalty kills. As November has shown, the Bruins will only be as good as their goaltending as the team continues to search for secondary scoring.

Game Notes

  • Charlie McAvoy suited up for his 400th career NHL game on Sunday. He logged a team-high 24:30 TOI while dishing two assists.
  • Heinen continues to surge and is now up to seven points in his last ten games.
  • Matthew Poitras totaled only 11:56 of ice time on Sunday, which has developed into a recent theme. The youngster’s usage is something to keep an eye on.
  • The Bruins return to the TD Garden on Thursday in a matchup with the Buffalo Sabres.