Marchand caps rookie season with Cup
VANCOUVER -- Not only did Brad Marchand become a rookie sensation during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he may have picked up a signature goal celebration along the way.
Marchand capped a spectacular spring with a pair of goals in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final to help his Boston Bruins defeat the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.
"Obviously, you dream of it as a kid, but I never thought it would happen. It was just unbelievable," Marchand said. "Some guys go their whole career without winning it, and to win it my first year is unbelievable."
The two goals ran Marchand's bounty in the postseason to 11. Not only did only one player score more in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs -- David Krejci -- but only one rookie in the history of the League has produced more. Dino Ciccarelli had 14 goals for the Minnesota North Stars in 1981, and Marchand tied Jeremy Roenick's 11 with Chicago in 1990 for the second-most by a rookie.
"I wanted to come in and I didn't know what to expect. I just wanted to produce. Luckily, I did," Marchand said. "It is surreal. You don't realize it. It just doesn't kick in. I don't know if it ever will. I'm just at a loss for words right now."
It was an excellent individual effort from Marchand that led to his first goal of the game and a 2-0 advantage for the Bruins. He started the play by controlling the puck in the left-hand corner of the Vancouver zone. After passing it to the point, Marchand drove to the net and collected the rebound to the right of goaltender Roberto Luongo. He put the puck through defenseman Kevin Bieksa's legs to go behind the net and then stuffed a wraparound goal past Luongo at 12:13 of the second period.
After the goal, he skated toward the neutral zone and jumped in the air with one foot already off the ice. It wasn't the first time Marchand has celebrated a goal in this series with the one-legged leap, and it now may not be the last.
"I don't know. I just black out and it happens," Marchand said. "I started jumping and I realized what I was doing before today. I've been doing it the last couple of games. I just wanted to keep the tradition going."
Marchand finished the final series with 5 goals -- two more than any player on either team. His seven points tied linemate Mark Recchi for the most in the Cup Final. He also did his part to cement his role as an agitator for the Bruins, "dusting" his hands when he skated past the Vancouver bench near the end of Game 4 and punching Daniel Sedin during a post-whistle scrum near the end of Game 6.
"We hated them so much. They were so cocky," Marchand said. "They thought they were just going to roll over us and we prevailed. We went out there and kept our mouths shut and we won.
"It was everything. They were diving. They hit [Nathan Horton] like that. They kept whining about stuff in the papers and shooting their mouths off. We just took it, went with it and just played. It feels so good right now."
"I think [Marchand], with every team he plays, he hates," Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli said. "That's part of his magic too. He's learning how to draw the line between going over the line and playing an aggressive, agitating game. I have to give him credit. He's learning how to do that on the job."
Marchand also made a great play to setup Patrice Bergeron's goal to open the scoring in the first period. Later he added an empty-net goal to end any doubt and kick off the celebration with 2:44 remaining.
"I was starting to tear up on the bench," Marchand said. "We were sitting there with a couple minutes left and we knew that we had it and we were counting it down. It was such a relief going to the bench and knowing that we had it in the bag, knowing that we had accomplished something that we had wanted our whole lives. It was a very emotional time."