BOSTON -- Rookie Brad Marchand certainly made his first Stanley Cup Final goal count – both artistically and tangibly.
Marchand scored the third goal of a four-goal second period outburst that propelled Boston to a resounding 8-1 win in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden. Of the nine goals scored Monday night, none was prettier than Marchand's solo effort on the penalty kill.
"It was definitely a beauty goal by him," said fellow penalty killer Daniel Paille.
And, more importantly, none of the goals may have been more important. The goal, at the 11:30 mark of the period, gave Boston a 3-0 lead in what was, essentially, a must-win game.
"Scoring a shorthanded goal, especially at a key moment like that where they still had a chance to come back, that definitely helps a lot," said Boston forward Daniel Paille, another penalty killer.
The goal certainly took the wind out of Vancouver's sails. Before the night was over, the Canucks would give up five more goals and lose their cool repeatedly in the third period as the teams engaged in numerous post-whistle scrums.
"It's one I am proud of, for sure," Paille said. "A couple of guys poked at (the puck) and it was kind of rolling there at times, so it was good to get it in."
Marchand is short-selling the goal just a bit.
Ironically, the play began with Daniel Sedin carrying the puck through the neutral zone. But, a strong challenge from Andrew Ference forced a turnover. Marchand, on the backcheck, swooped in to pick up the puck just outside the Boston zone and turned up ice with a full head of steam.
The only problem was that three Canucks were between him and the goal. Eschewing the conservative dump-in, Marchand coyly banked the puck off the side wall at the Canucks' blue line to catch defender Alex Edler flat-footed. Then, he turned on the jets to beat Ryan Kesler to the puck and shrug off the Vancouver player's attempt to muscle him off the puck.
To finish off the effort, Marchand calmly dragged the puck across the slot, waiting patiently until goalie Roberto Luongo committed by falling to the ice. Now skating away from the goal, Marchand snapped off a shot into the top of the net, before turning joyously to center ice to jump into the arms of his delirious teammates.
"I came off the bench and came back and he turned the puck over there and I had good speed and I saw Luongo go down and I tried to put it upstairs," Marchand said. "Thank God it went in.
"I'm not going to lie. I was getting nervous. I knew he had gone down and I had a chance to score, but I was a little nervous."
Once the red light went on, Marchand's nervousness turned to relieve. The rookie had just one goal in the past nine games and had not scored since Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. But, just like that, with the simple flick of his wrist, Marchand lifted the weight of the world off his shoulders.
"I have been getting opportunities every game to score and one finally goes in there," he said.
It was a just reward for an evening of effort, according to Marchand's teammates.
"It was a very big goal," defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. "He brought us a lot of energy today and he was working really hard. He had his scoring chances and that goal was huge for us. It was a tight game when it happened and it was huge that he scored."