By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — If you predicted five years ago that Brad Marchand would one day push for 40 goals in a single season, you may have been laughed out of the room. But nobody’s laughing now.
Marchand’s emergence as one of the elite offensive forces in the National Hockey League continued on Thursday night in the Boston Bruins’ 2-0 win over the Dallas Stars. He scored his 38th goal of the season in the first period, setting a new career high in that category. You can watch his goal in the above video.
David Backes capitalized on a turnover by Stars defenseman Stephen Johns, who badly mishandled the puck on a breakout. After firing his own shot, Backes corralled the rebound over to Marchand, who backhanded the puck sideways into the pads of Stars goalie Antti Niemi. And of course, Marchand’s chip shot ended up in the back of the net.
Marchand credited Backes’ heads-up play for making the goal possible.
“Backes did a great job at getting the initial shot and creating some traffic and getting the puck over [to me],” Marchand told reporters after the game. “Bit of a lucky bounce, but again, Backes did a great job on that goal. That was all him.”
Marchand finished with a goal and an assist to push his career-best point total to 83, putting him third in the league behind only the Oilers’ Connor McDavid (91) and the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane (84). With five games to go in the season, Marchand could push for 90 points in what’s been an electrifying first year of an eight-year extension he signed in the offseason.
Barring a late-season surge, Marchand likely won’t challenge McDavid for the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s scoring champion or the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby (42 goals) for the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the goal-scoring leader. But the Bruins’ star winger should earn himself some Hart Trophy votes for his performance.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at email@example.com.