If the Conn Smythe Trophy were awarded to the Stanley Cup Finals MVP, not the MVP of the entire postseason, it's quite possible that Boston Bruins rookie Brad Marchand could have won the thing. Marchand wound up with 11 goals in the 2011 playoffs, and five of those came after Game 2 of the series against the Vancouver Canucks.
Marchand was vital to the Bruins success against Vancouver, getting under the skin of seemingly the entire Canucks roster, punching Daniel Sedin in the face in Game 6 without suffering retribution and most importantly, adding some extra offensive punch to the second line with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi.
He stepped up big, and he was perhaps at his best in Game 7 on Wednesday. He factored in on three of the four Boston goals in the game, scoring two and assisting on two. He set up Bergeron's first goal, the first of the game, by outworking the Canucks off an offensive zone faceoff. He beat Roberto Luongo on the goal line in the second period and then whipped in the empty netter to seal the deal late in the third period.
Without Marchand's fine play in the Finals, the Bruins may have had a different fate in Game 7 and the series.
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