WASHINGTON (AP) — Trainers repaired the giant gash on Brad Marchand’s nose, stuffed gauze up his nostrils and then he stepped back on to the ice minutes after taking a violent high stick to the face.
Bloody nose and all, Marchand looked like the epitome of an old-school hockey player and led the Boston Bruins back from a two-goal deficit to rout the Washington Capitals 7-3 on Monday night. Marchand scored two goals and assisted on another, while longtime linemate Patrice Bergeron saved one at the other end.
“It certainly didn’t come as any surprise to any of us,” defenseman Matt Grzelcyk said of Marchand’s toughness. “When you get to see that each and every day, it’s extremely inspiring for us as teammates to want to follow in his footsteps. If your best players are working as hard as they do, it feels out to the rest of the group and there’s no excuse.”
After falling behind by two on goals by Washington’s Conor Sheary, the Bruins scored six in a row to hand the Capitals their fourth consecutive defeat, which is their longest losing streak this season.
“We’re losing games in all types of styles right now,” Capitals forward Nic Dowd said. “I’m not going to sit here and say, ‘Oh, it’s one thing or whatever.’ We’re up, we’re down, we’re coming back, we’re losing in overtime.”
Marchand started it all in the first period after taking a hard high stick from Dowd, requiring significant cleanup of blood on the ice and repairs to his nose on the bench. With Dowd still serving the double-minor penalty, Marchand sparked the comeback by setting up David Pastrnak for his first goal of the game on a 5-on-3 power play with 1:26 left in the first period.
Marchand scored on a 5-on-4 just 40 seconds later to tie it before intermission.
“We know what he’s all about, so we’ve seen it,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “He’s a competitive guy when he puts the skates on. And I think it demoralizes the other team a little bit. They’re trying to play him hard.”
The second period was all Boston. After Grzelcyk gave the Bruins the lead, Bergeron made sure they’d keep it. Goaltender Linus Ullmark was in no position to make a save, so the four-time Selke Trophy winner got his body in front of a shot by Evgeny Kuznetsov from point-blank range that would have sailed into the empty half of the net.
Less than a minute later, Craig Smith scored to make it 4-2 Bruins and chase Capitals starting goalie Zach Fucale. On the same night he was honored for setting the record for the longest shutout streak to start an NHL career at 138:07, Fucale got the hook after allowing four goals on 16 shots in under 28 minutes of work.
Vitek Vanecek was no better, giving up Pastrnak’s second goal on the first shot he faced and allowing one to Erik Haula on the second. Bruins winger Taylor Hall assisted on each of those goals to extend his point streak to six games.
Marchand scored his second midway through the third period. The Capitals didn’t think the effort was because Dowd made Marchand angry.
“He’s probably had a ton of games with two goals where he didn’t get hit in the face,” defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk said. “I think he brings it most nights, and that’s why he’s such a good player. He plays hard and, yeah, he’s tough. When you give him the opportunities, he’s going to take advantage.”
Grzelcyk added four assists to give himself a five-point night on the way to the Bruins improving to 9-1-1 in their past 11 road games. The five points were a career-high for Grzelcyk, who had never had more than two in a game before.
“As it’s happening, you just kind of shake your head,” Grzelcyk said. “I was just laughing during the game because I’ve felt good about my game most of the year and points have been a little bit hard to come by.”
Sheary scored twice in the first 12:32 to stake Washington to a 2-0 lead, and Alex Ovechkin assisted on T.J. Oshie’s goal late in the second that cut the deficit to 6-3. Ovechkin’s 52nd point of the season put him one back of Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl for the league lead.
NOTES: Bruins forward Trent Frederic was ruled out after the second period with an upper-body injury. Frederic collided with Ovechkin on his final shift. … Defenseman Charlie McAvoy returned after missing two games with a lower-body injury. … Boston defensemen Connor Clifton and Derek Forbort and Washington defenseman Dmitry Orlov and winger Carl Hagelin were added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.