The Boston Bruins missed the National Hockey League playoffs the past two years by just one game, but last night made sure there would be no third straight season of disappointment, beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0 to clinch a playoff spot before a grateful sold out home town crowd.
Stafford was the first to beat him, backhanding in a rebound 5:56 into the second period.
Marchand drew a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct at 19:20 of the first period Tuesday night. During the ensuing power-play, Boston made Tampa Bay's penalty look like junior players as they quickly moved the puck (and in turn the Lightning penalty killers out of position) and forced Vasilevskiy to make timely saves.
The trends say the Ottawa Senators and the over have cashed in this match up but I have to see if this game means anything to Boston who I'll back if it does once goalies are confirmed... "He's got to do a better job of that".
After the game - which also was his bobblehead night - Marchand described the spear as a reactionary play. This team dug its own grave early in the season with its poor play, and even a spirited post-deadline surge wasn't enough to fully turn the season around. We're all really happy for him.More news: Trump Praises NATO, Walking Back Months of Criticism
But it seems like suspending Marchand satisfies everyone: Tampa is happy that he got some discipline.
Prior to the spear, Marchand had been suspended four times - twice in the past three seasons - and fined four times in his eight-year career. "There's no question about that", Marchand said.
Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy agreed with his player that the spear was undisciplined.
Boston, which clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs with that win, has two games left in the regular season, hosting Ottawa on Thursday night, Washington on Saturday. With only a few games left in the year we want to make sure that we're playing a certain way going into the playoffs. Lightning C Steven Stamkos (right knee surgery) missed his 62nd straight game, but said he could still return this week if the club needs him and he's ready. Tampa Bay C Gabriel Dumont was not with the club after leaving to be with his pregnant wife.
"Now it's down to win or go home", Tampa Bay defenseman Anton Stralman told reporters. The Lightning, on the other hand, will meet the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres.