MONTREAL — One of the accelerants of the Bruins-Canadiens firestorm was missing Wednesday night.
Brad Marchand missed his first game of the season because of an undisclosed injury. Marchand was injured in the second period of Saturday’s 1-0 win in Toronto. He practiced at the Bell Centre Tuesday, but the left wing didn’t participate in Wednesday’s morning skate.
“We’re going to keep our fingers crossed that he’s in next game,” coach Claude Julien said. “He’s that close. It’s a matter of days here. It’s not as serious as most injuries, except that we’re being extra cautious early on in the season.”
Marchand has been one of the team’s offensive dynamos. Through eight games, Marchand had a team-leading five goals, including two against Buffalo last Thursday. He has taken only 10 shots and is averaging 16:21 of ice time.
Marchand has two goals and three assists in 15 regular-season games against Montreal. On Oct. 27, 2011, Marchand fought P.K. Subban at TD Garden. On April 23, 2011, an injured Max Pacioretty took a swipe at Marchand during a Bruins-Canadiens double-overtime game. Pacioretty cracked that the game was longer than Marchand’s nose.
Gregory Campbell replaced Marchand on the second line Wednesday night alongside Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin. Campbell also filled in for Marchand in the third period against Toronto.
Spooner makes debut
Ryan Spooner made his NHL debut, centering the fourth line between Lane MacDermid and Jamie Tardif.
Spooner was recalled Monday, and practiced with the Bruins Tuesday.
“Pretty nervous to start,” Spooner said. “But after I got my first shift under my belt, I felt pretty good.”
Spooner skated eight shifts for 5:29 of playing time, including on the No. 2 power-play unit. On the Bruins’ first power play, he manned the point.
Spooner and his fourth-line mates forced Subban to take a hooking penalty on a first-period shift.
“I told them to go out there, play like they play anywhere else, and have some fun doing it,” Julien said of the young fourth line. “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just play on your toes. They did just that. They did such a great job, they allowed us to have a power play with hard work.”
Taken with the 45th pick in the 2010 draft, he is a skilled and speedy center who can shoot as well as dish the puck.
In Providence, Spooner had nine goals and 21 assists in 35 games.
Spooner has three goals and 11 assists in his last 12 games for Providence.
“To start the year, I was kind of unfamiliar with a bunch of things,” said Spooner. “Once I settled down, I kind of got used to everything. That made a big difference.”
Job well done
Marchand and Daniel Paille are two of the Bruins’ six regular penalty-killing forwards. So with both unavailable, Julien had to lean heavily on Bergeron, Campbell, Rich Peverley, and Chris Kelly.
The Bruins killed four of five Montreal power plays. The Canadiens’ only power-play goal appeared to skim off Peverley’s stick, three seconds before the end of a Milan Lucic high-sticking penalty. Peverley led Boston forwards with 5:00 of shorthanded ice time.
The Canadiens entered the game with the NHL’s ninth-best power play, scoring on 11 of 46 chances (23.9 percent).
“Unbelievable,” Julien said of the effort of the penalty-killing forwards. “You know how good Montreal’s power play is. We were three seconds away from being perfect again tonight. You’ve got to give those guys credit. We hope to have Paille next game. If we can get some penalty killers back, it will help take the load off those guys. They were great.”
Olympics a year away
One year from now, the 2014 Winter Games will take place in Sochi, Russia. The NHL is expected to release its players to participate in the Olympics. Bergeron (Canada), Lucic (Canada), Krejci (Czech Republic), Dennis Seidenberg (Germany), Zdeno Chara (Slovakia), and Tuukka Rask (Finland) could be among the players getting calls. “It’s always an honor to be representing your country,” said Chara. “It’s such a special event. It’s always such a neat experience to be at that kind of sports event.” . . . Ex-Bruin Tomas Kaberle was a healthy scratch for the Canadiens. He has just one assist in six games while averaging 13:44 of ice time. Kaberle has one more year ($4.25 million cap hit) remaining on his contract and can be bought out after this season . . . Krejci led all forwards with 20:14 of ice time . . . The Bruins had just two shots in 6:19 of power-play time . . . Aaron Johnson was Boston’s healthy scratch.