Brad Marchand scored an overtime goal that’s being talked about today for all the wrong reasons.
Tied 1-1 with the Buffalo Sabres halfway through the extra frame, Marchand used his above league average strength and skating ability to shield off Sabres defender Rasmus Ristolainen and separate himself into breakaway position. Alas, as could only happen to Brad Marchand, his routine stick lift sent the twig of Ristolainen up into the air. This forced Ristoainen to grab Marchand at the hip and arm and take away the scoring chance. I’ve definitely seen weaker calls made. To me he prevented Marchand from getting a decent shot. Good call. Whether you believe this was a penalty or not, the fact that it was called “hooking” makes the whole thing even more bizarre.
So with the stick lift dramatics and the odd call at a crucial time, it’s easy to focus on everything leading up to the penalty shot. What we should never forget to mention is the pure finesse this macho bruiser possesses. What a set of hands on this guy! I mean, yeah, we can argue about whether that should be called in overtime until the cows come home. If he doesn’t score, it doesn’t matter as much. To give such a sweet backhand tuck with ease the way he did, it kind of makes it seem as though the goal was automatic and makes the call that much more infuriating. But this goal didn’t have to be automatic.
Before you argue against that penalty, remember that it would have robbed everyone of the chance to see the other side of Marchand.