Patrice Bergeron is one of the premier two-way centers in the NHL. He values the defensive side of his game just as much as the stat line, and sometimes that means blocking a shot. This led to a fractured right foot which sidelined him for a month, but Bergeron is back in full form just in time for the playoffs.
Back in Black
He was slotted back into the lineup while in Minnesota and wasted no time making his presence known. Three minutes into the second period, Bergeron fed Pastrnak a perfect one-time pass in the high slot. Pasta tee’d it up and ripped a slap shot past Stalock for his 30th goal of the season. The scorecard read “Pastrnak assisted by Bergeron and Marchand”, so it doesn’t seem like much changed in a month. Later he assisted on Marchand’s fifth overtime winner- another common occurrence.
His play against Tampa offered even more proof that Bergeron hasn’t missed a beat. He finished the night with three points and scored his first goal since returning to the lineup. Bergeron came out from behind the net and was the beneficiary of a beautiful tic-tac-toe play. The puck went from the tape of Marchand, to Krug, to Bergeron, to twine in a matter of seconds. This was one of the biggest wins of the year for Boston and propelled them into first place.
Bergeron continued his prominent return with another tally against the surging Florida Panthers. He extended his goal scoring streak the very next day against the Flyers. With only seconds remaining, Bergeron ripped home a loose puck to tie the game. He has a stat-line of 3-4-7 in five games played since making his return.
Bergeron’s patented two-way game is also perfectly intact. There are always concerns about a players conditioning when they go down with a late season injury, but the lungs are just fine. He’s averaged just under 20 minutes of ice time since returning which is equal to the amount he’s played throughout the season. He even played a total of 22:38 in the overtime loss against the Flyers, so he seems prepared to log the extra minutes that he’ll see in the postseason.
It’s all starting to come together for the Bruins heading into the playoffs. Bergeron’s back, McAvoy’s next, and the team is looking sharp. The top line has carried the B’s all season, and now the trio is back together. With the return of Bergeron, the Bruins are just as deep as any team in the league.
Cover image courtesy of NHL.com