Brad Marchand isn’t looking to rest before Bruins’ playoff run


“Come playoff time, you can’t just flip a switch and you’d be ready.”

Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand plays during an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 23, 2024, in Philadelphia.
Brad Marchand isn’t looking for a breather in April. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Bruins might have clinched a playoff spot on Thursday, but Brad Marchand and the rest of his teammates aren’t planning on hitting cruise control for the final eight games on the regular-season docket.

Beyond the uncertainty regarding Boston’s first-round matchup, Marchand and Co. believe that the Bruins still need to build their respective game before the playoffs arrive next month.

And with six of Boston’s final eight games currently scheduled against opponents in the playoff picture, Marchand believes the Bruins are in a prime position to sharpen their play in April.

“Come playoff time, you can’t just flip a switch and you’d be ready. There’s a lot of teams that are fighting for their lives right now and playing really well,” Marchand said after Friday’s practice at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex. “If you don’t have that same mindset, you’re gonna get caught off guard a couple of times. So it’s about making sure that each day you come prepared to play and don’t get complacent.”

For Marchand, avoiding complacency means remaining in the lineup over these final eight games.

His head coach, Jim Montgomery, acknowledged that trying to convince Boston’s captain to voluntarily sit out a game is a task easier said than done.

“It’s Marchand, Montgomery said of the losing battle when it comes to getting the winger to sit out a game. “He’s a special, special breed. I mean, the guy competes. He leads, he’s our engine that makes us go.

“And there’s gonna be times where we back off him and there’s times where I notice where I don’t think he has his normal pep and I back off in those games. But right now, I mean, he’s trying to get ready, too.”

Even with some daunting matchups on the schedule within the next few weeks, there is a compelling case to be made for Marchand to earn a brief respite.

Even though Montgomery stressed on Friday that he doesn’t feel as though any of Boston’s big guns like Charlie McAvoy and David Pastrnak have been over-taxed at this juncture of the season, Marchand might be a special case.

The veteran has logged plenty of mileage over the course of his 15-year career, with Marchand set to turn 36 in the second week of May.

He’s racked up 130 total points in the 147 games since undergoing major arthroscopy and labral repair on both of his hips in 2022 — an impressive feat in its own right.

But the star forward is still trudging through another 82-game gauntlet with plenty of wear and tear already in place. 

Even with a bruising, vintage performance against the Panthers on Tuesday, Marchand has only scored one goal in his last 17 games. An effective playmaker on the man advantage, Marchand hasn’t lit the lamp on the power play since Jan. 13 — a stretch of 32 games. 

But for Marchand, the best remedy for these recent scoring woes is to play through them and solve them on the ice — rather than prescribe rest down the stretch.

“I feel — you can play? You should play,” Marchand said. “Again, I don’t think that you gain anything from taking it off. … You should be there preparing to battle with the guys and fine-tuning your game — the chemistry and the details you need to work on in the game.”

More reps over these final regular-season games does invite more risk for injury — something Boston realized last April when Patrice Bergeron tweaked his back in the Bruins’ 2023 regular-season finale against Montreal. 

But for Marchand — a player who has carved out an impressive career thanks to an abiding competitive drive and an immovable chip on his shoulder — even sitting out part of a back-to-back slate to close the season (April 15 vs. Washington, April 16 vs. Ottawa) feels like a tough sell.

“If you can’t play back-to-backs, then you shouldn’t be in the league,” Marchand noted. “You should be the best-conditioned athletes in the world.”

The Bruins are hoping that said conditioning carries over into the postseason for Marchand and the rest of his teammates.

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