By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — In the second and third games of the Bruins’ series against the Senators, Brad Marchand appeared tentative as the Sens’ defense clamped down on him when he had the puck. In Game 4, Marchand was simply stymied at the hands of Senators goalie Craig Anderson.
There’s no doubt that the Bruins need more production out of Marchand to even have a sniff at coming back in the series, which the Senators now lead 3-1 with a chance to close it out at home in Game 5 on Friday night. But Marchand at least showed more aggression in Wednesday’s Game 3 loss, driving to the net with more authority than he’d shown all series and firing six shots on goal.
But when Marchand had his best chances to bury the puck like he did in Game 1, Anderson was there to stop him. No save was bigger than the one he made on Marchand with the Sens up 1-0 and just over a minute left in regulation, when he stuffed Marchand at the doorstep. You can watch the save in the above video.
Marchand also got hoodwinked when he had a breakaway late in the first period. Anderson made a Dominik Hasek-esque diving poke check to smother Marchand’s shot before he had a chance to loft the puck over the sprawled goalie:
It’s hard not to tip your cap to Anderson for these saves, but Marchand simply needs to lift that puck in the air. On either of those impossibly juicy scoring chances.
Marchand was supposed to be the Bruins’ go-to player if they needed to score goals at the most crucial times. He did it with his game-winning goal in Game 1, but has been silenced ever since. Meanwhile, the Senators’ best player, defenseman Erik Karlsson, has seized control of the series and been easily the most dominant player on the ice. He was once again a huge factor in the game-winning goal for the Senators when he made a scintillating fake-slap shot to pass the puck to Bobby Ryan, who stuffed the puck home.
The Bruins certainly got the kind of effort from Marchand that they’ve needed all season in Game 4, but he needs to start finishing his chances. If Marchand can’t truly make his presence felt in Friday’s Game 5, the Bruins may have played their last game at the Garden this season.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.