BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins played too poorly in their own end to avoid losing on Thursday night against the Oilers, but Brad Marchand continued to do his MVP-caliber part on offense with a goal and two assists to push his season point total to 79. He remained tied with Oilers wunderkind Connor McDavid, who assisted on three Oilers goals on Thursday, for the NHL scoring lead.
However, Marchand did take the NHL goal-scoring lead when he potted his 37th goal of the season in the first period, inching ahead of Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby. The Penguins captain will have a chance to regain the lead when they play the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.
Marchand scored five goals and 11 points on the Bruins’ three-game road trip out west. He’s scored 14 goals and 24 points in 16 games under interim head coach Bruce Cassidy and the Bruins are 12-4 in that span.
Marchand’s recent scoring surge has firmly entrenched him in the race for the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL scoring champion, as well as the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy for the most goals. Marchand should also find himself on ballots for the Hart Trophy as league MVP, but he has strong competition for that award like McDavid, Crosby, Sharks defenseman Brent Burns, and Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson.
The Bruins have four virtual must-win games coming up next week as they hold onto third place in the Atlantic Division. First, they travel to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs on Monday then head back to Boston to play the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. They also play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday and the New York Islanders on the road on Saturday. They will need Marchand to keep scoring at his NHL-best pace to maintain their Eastern Conference playoff spot.