Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

Bruins winger Brad Marchand returns from suspension vs. Rangers

Ty Anderson
February 07, 2018 - 7:30 pm

Life without Brad Marchand was not as bad as it could have been for the Bruins.

Despite a somewhat daunting middle of the sans Marchand slate -- the B's had meetings against the Ducks, Blues, and Maple Leafs -- the shorthanded Bruins successfully captured wins in four of the five games Marchand missed as a result of his suspension for an elbow to the head of Marcus Johansson on Jan. 23. They did it with their remaining left wingers assuming a significant chunk of the scoring load, too. 

Still, the Bruins are more than happy to see No. 63 back for tonight’s meeting in Manhattan against Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers.

And with the hope that this latest timeout will get Marchand to realize his undeniable importance to the team. 

“He's driven and he plays a certain way, so he has to block out some of the noise obviously, but still be respectful of the boundaries that he needs to play with,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said of Marchand’s reputation and what he needs to do to avoid trouble. “I've talked to him about both sides. He's come out and said that it's what got him to this level --  being, we'll use the word pest for a lack of a better term.

“We want to make sure now that he understands that he's an elite player; offensively, penalty killing, just a 200-foot-player,” Cassidy continued of Marchand. “Take some of that other part of that that helped you get into the league out of your game, because you've earned the right to be more of a skill guy without losing the determination and passion for the game and that's the part that Brad's been working on."

There’s no doubt that Marchand has been the most effective Bruin this season, as his 50 points are still tops among all Boston skaters despite Marchand having missed 13 games to either injury or suspension. That production is actually unmatched, for that matter, as Marchand’s 1.32 points per game stands as the best mark in the NHL.

And they’ll need that against a Rangers team that’s taken both meetings this season, and seven straight head-to-heads with the Bruins dating back to 2016.

“We've had a tough time with them,” Cassidy said of the Rangers. “I don't care what their record is or what they've done lately. We have to prove we can beat them. So we're going to try to play our game from the puck drop. It's a back-to-back for us, so hopefully we're fresh and ready to go when it does get going. That's always a challenge. And I expect them to be a little bit of a desperate hockey team. It's that time of a year.”

Anton Khudobin gets the start for the Bruins.

Here are the expected lines and pairings for the Bruins…

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Ryan Spooner

Danton Heinen - Riley Nash - David Backes

Tim Schaller - Sean Kuraly - Austin Czarnik

Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk - Adam McQuaid

Anton Khudobin

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