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Brad Marchand gets Bruins started

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  June 14, 2011 12:01 AM

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Brad Marchand is regarded by Canucks fans with the same often-unprintable words Bruins fans reserve for Vancouver villains Alex Burrows and Maxim Lapierre.

The PG-rated word most applied to the Bruins' rookie forward is probably pest, though rat is also a popular choice (including with Marchand, who refers to himself in rodent terms from time to time).

After his performance tonight, it's fair to presume Canucks fans' opinion of him is in no danger of changing for the better.

Marchand scored the first goal of Game 6 just 5:31 into the first period, setting off a chain reaction that saw the Bruins score twice more in the next 3:04, chasing Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo en route to a 5-2 victory at the Garden.

"He's not a very easy goalie to beat straight-up, and it's kind of a tough-angle shot there," Marchand said. "Just kind of caught him off guard and it went from there."

Mark Recchi, the 43-year-old veteran who has been a mentor to Marchand this season, understands why opponents and opposing fans regard Marchand as a nuisance. But Recchi, who assisted on the first goal, praised the rookie's disciplined but still energetic performance.

"He's a young kid that plays on the edge and sometimes the emotions get the best of him," said Recchi, who contributed three assists in Game 6. "But when you're young, that's not a bad thing. I would rather have a kid like that than a kid that plays with no emotion. It's a big part of his game and he's learning. He's learning to coral it when he needs to and when we need a lift, he's learned to go out and do it. That's the sign of a smart, young player who wants to get better and better."

The goal was Marchand's ninth of the playoffs, a franchise record for a rookie.

"It was a huge goal he scored and he emotionally kept on driving for us," Recchi said. "It's a great thing. He's such a good kid and it's nice to see him get rewarded but also play an intelligent game tonight. He still played with the edge, but it was on the right side of it."

Bruins coach Claude Julien was effusive by his standards in praising Marchand.

He's been a great player for us all year," Julien said. "He's a good energy player. Certainly that goal that he scored tonight was certainly a highlight -reel goal. The shot that he took was an extremely accurate and hard shot from an off wing and that's the caliber of a Brad Marchand shot. Hopefully with more confidence you're going to see him use that even more.

"He's been a great, great player for us. For a first-year player, he's been great. When you look at how he's handling himself in the Stanley Cup finals, you certainly can't complain as a coach."

Marchand said it's almost unimaginable to him that he'll be playing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final as a rookie.

"I'm getting nervous already, but it's an unbelievable situation," he said. "But if you said at the beginning of the season that we'd be playing in the Stanley Cup Final, Game 7, we'd all take it. We just have to make sure we don't get too ahead of ourselves and play our game."

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