BOSTON — The Boston Bruins should have beaten the Toronto Maple Leafs, say, 4-2 last night.
With a little luck, it could’ve been 6-2, with the game turning into a shooting gallery for the Bruins the last 14 minutes and 16 seconds (B’s outshot Leafs, 13-1)
But because of the proverbial “puck didn’t bounce” their way, with at least four easy-looking opportunities from in front not going in, the Bruins lost Game 4 here at the T.D. Garden, 2-1. So they have to take another late night trip to Toronto for tomorrow night’s Game 6.
The extra flight, though, isn’t as much a concern as the fact that something is missing.
Every player of note wearing a spoked “B” the last week has been accounted for since the Bruins flicked the “playoff” switch last week. That includes the lights-out goalie (Tuukka Rask), the shut-down defenseman (Zdeno Chara), the playmaker (David Krejci), the two-way guy (Patrice Bergeron) and even the semi-return of the enforcer (Milan Lucic).
Except, as President Barack Obama’s writers so aptly nicknamed him 18 months ago, “The Little Ball of Hate.”
Where is Brad Marchand?
And we’re not just talking about his point production — he has no goals and two assists in the series. We’re talking about his presence. We’re talking about his, well, pestiness.
Both Leafs goals were the product of Bruins gaffes — Andrew Ference failed to ward off Tyler Bozak on a loose puck and Johnny Boychuck and Nathan Horton missed on a connection.
But Marchand’s inability to do anything of note in 16:06 of action last night was the biggest reason the Bruins have to spend two more days in Toronto.
While it seemed everybody took their whacks at Leafs goalie James Reimer, who faced 44 shots (Chara had eight shots, Jaromir Jagr had seven and Marchand’s linemates Bergeron and Tyler Seguin had six apiece), Marchand had none.