BOSTON (CBS) – After having to watch his team play the last five games, Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand is ready to return Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils.
“It’s always tough to watch your team play, it gets very frustrating,” said Marchand, who has served his five-game suspension for clipping Vancouver’s Sami Salo two Saturdays ago. “But it’s nice those five games are over with, kind of get back here and try to jump back in and hopefully help any way I can.”
Marchand’s 32 points (16 goals, 16 assists) in 37 games this season are good for fifth on the team, and he doesn’t think there will be much rust when he takes to the ice in New Jersey.
“Not at all, it’s only been a week and they’ve been pushing me pretty hard before and after practice,” he said, hoping to get off to a fast start in his return.
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“That’s the plan; go in and try to create energy like I try to do. Continue to play my game and hopefully come right back with (Tyler Seguin) and (Patrice Bergeron), if that’s where I am, and hopefully carry on where we left off.”
Head coach Claude Julien is excited to get both Marchand and forward Rich Peverely, who missed two games for a personal matter, back Thursday night, giving his team two key players in the middle of a mini-cold streak.
“Fresh legs (and) some experienced players as well,” Julien said of the duos return. “They’re guys that play a big role in our hockey club. Both of those guys are also power play, penalty kill players and obviously play a big role on their line. No doubt, they’re a welcome addition right now.”
The Bruins went 3-2 without Marchand, dropping two of their last three. But one thing Julien does not want to call their current stretch is a “slump,” noting the team is still above .500 and still right at the top of the standings.
“For us it’s not good enough. Having said that, that’s why I’m avoiding using the word slump, because it’s not a slump, I think it’s a dip in our play and we just have to pick it up,” said Julien. “We pick it up and we’ll be fine. What you learn to do is not to panic but correct. You push your players to battle through it and respond.”
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“I wouldn’t say we’re in a lull or rough spot,” said Marchand. “We’re still winning games; we might have lost a couple but you’re not going to win every game in the season. It’s been a pretty grueling schedule and it takes a toll on the body. I think a lot of guys are playing a lot of minutes right now. The schedule can get a little tough at times, but we had a nice day off here and we’ll be ready.”
After beating the Devils 6-1 in their building just two weeks ago, the B’s know the home team will be a little extra motivated heading into this one.”
“We know revenge is on their mind and that’s just a natural thing,” said Julien. “Right now what we have to do is make sure we’re as ready as we can, because we know the other team will be.”
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