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Marchand Rips Monkey off his Back

Brad Marchand’s celebration said it all. The pesky winger potted his second goal of the season – his first since Oct. 5, a span of 13 games – and then proceeded to make a gesture with his right hand, in which it appeared he was pulling something off of his back.

Brad Marchand delivered one of his strongest efforts of the year Thursday. (Photo: Charles Krupa/AP)

Brad Marchand delivered one of his strongest efforts of the year Thursday. (Photo: Charles Krupa/AP)

“Just getting the monkey off my back pretty much,” Marchand explained. “It’s been a while. It was a good feeling. It just kind of came to my mind.”

The goal turned out to be the winner in the Bruins 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers Thursday night at TD Garden, that snapped a two-game losing streak.

Marchand, like the Bruins, has been searching for a more consistent effort. His game has been off all season, his usual antagonistic side lacking. Bruins head coach Claude Julien even demoted  him to the third line from his customary second line left wing spot for a time.

“It’s nice to get one,” said Marchand. “I forgot what it felt like. It’s frustrating. You want to contribute, you know you can. Games go by and you don’t score, and I wasn’t really playing well. It’s very frustrating, you want to pull your own weight, especially with the team we have. Everybody is expected to play up to par.

“I think I just wanted to stick with it. I tried to get back and make things more simple. Hopefully things will start bouncing my way.”

The puck did just that in the third period. Marchand, back alongside Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson on the second line, recovered the puck at the Florida blue line and dished it over to Bergeron at the left half-wall.

Bergeron found Dennis Seidenberg, who launched a one-timer from the point. As that was happening, Marchand charged to the net, and when Seidenberg’s shot trickled through the pads of Florida goalie Scott Clemmensen and lay in the crease, he was there tap it into the net.

“When things aren’t going right, you just want to get to the dirty areas and hope for the bounces,” he said. “I missed one earlier in the game off of Loui’s shot and I missed a couple last game. It was bound to go in.”

Julien was pleased to see Marchand score, but even more impressed by the way in which he did it.

“I think he scored the goal we know he scores,” said Julien. “He made a great play at the blue line and then just skated to the net and was able to jump on that loose puck. We talked about him moving his feet and when he moves his feet he creates things and scores some goals.”

After a sloppy first period for the Bruins, David Krejci potted the first goal of the game at 7:17 of the second. Torey Krug and Reilly Smith each scored in the third period. Tuukka Rask was stellar and made 23 saves.

THOMAS GETS HIS DUE

Tim Thomas will forever be a hero in Boston after his historic performance during the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup in 2011. But things didn’t end well. He left the team following the 2011-2012 season in order to spend more time with his family, choosing to sit out the lockout-shortened season. As a result, he was traded to the New York Islanders last February.

Thursday night marked his first trip back to the Garden, but because he is still recovering from a groin injury, he did not play or meet with the media. And he was nowhere to be found for the first two periods of the B’s 4-1 win over the Panthers. Finally in the third, the former Conn Smythe and Vezina Trophy winner made his way to the press box and, a few minutes later, a video tribute was shown on the video screen above center ice.

He received a rousing standing ovation from the Garden faithful.

“It was great to be back at the Garden, great to be back in Boston,” Thomas told the Miami Herald after the game. “I was hoping for that kind of reaction from the fans. I loved playing here. I loved Boston. It was nice to see that response.”

JULIEN SAYS TEAM, NOT THOMAS, WON CUP IN 2011

Julien made one thing clear during his media availability on Thursday morning, though: Thomas did not singlehandedly win the Bruins the Cup.

“Well they’re right,” said Julien when it was suggested that the Bruins wouldn’t have won the Cup without Thomas. “But Tim Thomas doesn’t win the Stanley Cup if our team doesn’t play as well as they did in front of him. So this is an honest statement: Tim played well but I think our team played just as well in front of him.

“You don’t win a Stanley Cup with just a goaltender. He won the Conn Smythe because he was very good, but at the same time, I would like to hope the statistics of your goaltenders can also reflect the team in front of you. We did a pretty good job in front of him for years minimizing the goal scoring chances and the quality of it.

“So let’s make sure we don’t take away credit from the rest of the team, too. He was a big part of it and so was a lot of other guys, but at the same time, I think we won the Stanley Cup because we were a good team. That’s what I like to think anyways.”

WINCHESTER HEARING SET

During the first period, Florida forward Jesse Winchester, who also potted the Panthers’ lone goal, delivered a wicked elbow to the head of Chris Kelly. Winchester launched himself into Kelly, who fell to the ice.

No penalty was called and Kelly was able to leave the ice under his own power and did not miss a shift.

TSN reported late Thursday night that Winchester has a 4:30 p.m. telephone hearing with league officials on Friday.

Gregory Campbell dropped the gloves with Winchester a few moments later in response to the hit.

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