By Sarah Kwak
Less than five minutes remained in the first overtime of Game 1 and the Bruins were outplaying and completely outshooting the Rangers with almost goal after almost goal. It was clear the Bruins were due for an actual goal any second. And for the last two weeks, their Little Ball of Hate has been due, too.
Brad Marchand, the team’s leading scorer in the regular season, was kept muzzled through the first round, picking up only three assists in the seven-game series against the Maple Leafs. But in the closing minutes of overtime against the Rangers, with the score knotted at 2-2, Marchand tipped in a beautiful feed from Patrice Bergeron to win Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals for Boston. The pesky yet diminutive winger did it by powering through the even more diminutive Mats Zuccarello (5-foot-7, 174 pounds), who is probably the only NHLer Marchand (5-9, 183 pounds) could realistically muscle off.
In the fight between these two big, burly and tough hockey teams, the battle between two flyweights decided it. Figures.
Here are some more observations from the Bruins’ 3-2 Game 1 win: