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

You could almost feel Brad Marchand exhale on Thursday night. After ten games without lighting the lamp, the Boston Bruins captain has racked up yet another milestone. His first-period breakaway goal against the Carolina Hurricanes was his 400th National Hockey League career goal, and the monkey was finally off his back.

“Lately trying not to think about it,” Marchand told reporters after the game. “Obviously, it was kind of an elephant in the room (and) nice to get it. Don’t have to worry about it anymore.”

Marchand is now the fifth player in Bruins history to reach the 400 mark, joining Rick Middleton, Patrice Bergeron, Phil Esposito, and Johnny Bucyk. Better yet, his memorable tally was in signature fashion: deking to his backhand on a breakaway in front of the crease to sneak the puck under Frederick Anderson’s pad.

It’s been a season of celebration for Marchand, who played in his 1,000th career game after being named captain of the Bruins prior to the season. Now, he checks another box off his long list of goals to fulfill. However, the 15th-year Bruin yearns to focus on much larger dreams to chase at this point in his career.

“I try not to think about things that I’ve done while I’m still playing,” said Marchand. “There’s much larger goals, and hopefully, there’s still plenty more. I’ll reminisce at the end.”

It’s been a season of ups and downs for the 35-year-old. After scoring four goals in the first five games of the season, Marchand scored just three in the subsequent 17. Then he netted five scores in the next three contests before another skid produced a single tally in an 11-game stretch. Thursday marked the end of another scoring drought, his 27th goal of the year. Still, Marchand has collected 27-37-64 and is three points shy of his total last season. Even while his 2023-24 campaign has had its highs and lows, his impact extends much further from the box score.

“I’m so happy for him, ” Jeremy Swayman said after Thursday’s win. “He works so hard. I couldn’t be luckier to be a part of it. Seeing what he does every day on and off the ice, he’s a true leader.”

(Photo Credit: Josh Lavallee/NHLI via Getty Images)