BY: Mark Harriman, Senior Editor
BOSTON- You can’t say the Bruins haven’t done their part in supporting the Patriots in that franchise’s eight trips to the Super Bowl thus far.
Taking the ice tonight at TD Garden for the pre-game warmup, the Bruins wore Patriots stocking caps with the “Do Your Job” slogan and Flying Elvis logo emblazoned on the front.Taking it one step further, in his pre-game presser coach Claude Julien revealed that he has been texting back and forth with Patriots coach Bill Belichick during the playoff run.
But on the ice when it counted, Brad Marchand had two goals (one for an empty netter) and Chris Kelly added another as Boston defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-1.
While texting Belichick and wearing another team’s gear are great gestures of support for their professional counterparts, the Bruins have actually stepped up their game when the Patriots have made their Super Bowl appearances.
The numbers don’t lie. And this would make one heck of a prop bet.
The Bruins are 6-2 in their contests on the day-of or immediately preceding the Pats’ NFL Championship appearances. Even in the not-so-good Steve Kasper (1996-97: 256-47-9) and Mike Sullivan (2004-05: 29-37-16) years. And six of those eight games have been at home.
Marchand and his teammates will be watching the Super Bowl together “at an undisclosed location, just like the Patriots,” he joked as he referred to the secretive hotel stay during New England’s final days in Glendale, AZ.
Boston was a perfect 4-0 before Sullivan’s squad lost to Carolina on February 6, 2005 in a 4-3 shootout as New England was about to best the Eagles for their third title in Super Bowl XXXIV.
Claude Julien made it back-to-back losses the day before the Patriots were taking on the Giants in Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008. The Bruins lost to Detroit on Causeway Street 3-1.
“We’ve reached out lots since (the) playoffs. I think I’m his best friend right now, if you want to believe that,” Julien said in his pre-game comments when asked about his communication with Belichick.”I’ve been looking forward to the game tomorrow. Whether people like him or not, I’m a big fan of his. I like his approach. I like the way he coaches, how he prepares his teams and stuff like that….”
Sullivan (2) and Julien (3) are the only Bruins coaches to stand behind the bench multiple times during the Pats’ championship runs. Which isn’t really surprising, given the coaching carousel on Causeway Street.
Dating back to New England’s first appearance in Super Bowl XX in 1986 against the Bears (remember that they actually had a 3-0 lead in the game thanks to Tony Franklin), the Bruins have had 11 head coaches and two interims. But the day before the drubbing by Chicago down in New Orleans, Butch Goring’s crew kicked off what would be the start of this arcane comparison with a 6-3 win over Detroit in the Old Garden.
“Obviously it’s an exciting time being in Boston, watching the Pats play for the Super Bowl. We’ll be watching,” Chris Kelly said as he stood in front of his locker wearing his Patriots hat, replete with a nifty pom pom on top.
“It’s very warm, but I’ve got to support the boys,” Marchand said of his own chapeau just a few feet away. “In my (home) town, it’s all hockey. Very little football. But I definitely became much more of a fan when I came here and met a few of the guys (Patriots players).”
Kelly always likes to support his professional brethren in Boston, especially when the stakes are high and after having played in a one sport town like Ottawa. “Yeah for sure. it’s awesome……Coming here there’s every sports team. It’s great to go see games and cheer those teams on. There’s that mutual respect for the four major teams here. You’re rooting for them and you want them to succeed. And it’s great for the city.”
In the three Patriot Super Bowl victories (2002, 2004, 2005), the Bruins are 2-1 and have scored four goals in both of those wins. In the sole loss, Boston had three goals, as they did tonight.
So for those superstitious types who will be placing a final wager for entertainment purposes only, a good bet would be to throw down big on Seattle to win straight up. After all, the Bruins have a pretty solid track record on their part, right?
On the other side of the coin, the Patriots have done their fair share, too.
New England’s previous seven Super Bowl entires have coincided with five Bruins’ playoff runs. Success has been elusive for Boston, though, with those seasons ending four Conference Quarter Final losses and one Division Semi-Final loss.
And here’s one last obscure fact that won’t soon find the light of day on a prop bet: Rene Rancourt belted out the National Anthem in 1:24.72. OddsShark.com’s over-under for Idina Menzel is 2:01.
Take Rene and three fist pumps. You can’t go wrong with a Garden legend.