By Matt Kalman, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — It might be time to scrap calling Brad Marchand “Rat” or “Squirrel” or any other name that’s associated with his agitator role on the Bruins.

It’s not that he’s decided to give up his brat-like ways for a puritan lifestyle. It’s that his more vital contributions to the Bruins are actual goals that come at big times, sometimes cause big-time shock because of their beauty, and are hitting the score sheet at a remarkable rate.

Although the Bruins eventually settled for just one point Tuesday night in their 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers at TD Garden, Marchand capped Boston’s rally from three goals down in the third period with the tying goal with 43 seconds remaining in regulation.

He found the loose puck and beat defending Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist to the short side from a tough angle. The goal was Marchand’s team-leading seventh of the season (despite him missing one game due to injury) and continued his season-long hot hand.

Marchand also beat Lundqvist in the shootout to improve to a 2-for-2 in the post-overtime spectacle this season. He had never attempted a shootout in the NHL prior to this season, but you better believe he’s going to be in coach Claude Julien’s lineup going forward.

It’s time to start calling Marchand “Scorer” or “Sniper” or something that better describes his ability to light the lamp.

Despite the numbers (7-1-8) this season, one year after he set career highs with 28 goals and 55 points, Marchand says he’s still not on top of his game. He was one of the few Bruins players to not play somewhere during the lockout, and he classifies the results as a mixed bag.

“Yeah and no. It was good to be able to rest and let my body rejuvenate. But, at the same time, I felt very slow and I wasn’t able to make plays [at the start of the season],” Marchand said after the loss to the Rangers. “I’m still not as sharp as I should be, and that’s obviously from not playing over the lockout. But at the same time, the team is doing well and we’re winning and that’s all that matters.”

If Marchand gets any sharper he might challenge for the Maurice Richard Trophy this season. And the Bruins are going to need Marchand to pour in the points as long as some of Boston’s other top scorers don’t emerge from their respective slumps soon.

Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for and also contributes coverage to and several other media outlets. Follow him on twitter @TheBruinsBlog.


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