BOSTON -- Even a normally-consistent player like Patrice Bergeron wasn’t immune to the early-season malaise that affected the Bruins, but it would appear that No. 37 is coming out of it just like everybody else.
The B’s two-way center potted a pair of goals in Boston’s 3-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night, including the game-winning power play-strike in the opening minute of the third period. Bergeron now has five goals and eight points in 16 games, and is starting to put up numbers on par with his usual expectations after weathering the double whammy of a Loui Eriksson injury and Brad Marchand slump early in the season.
Bergeron has enjoyed some good individual games this season, and his unparalleled face-off abilities never really go into a slump. But Saturday night was one of the few times the quality of his shifts resulted in production on the scoreboard.
“It was a better game for him tonight," Claude Julien said. "I felt his line as a whole was coming along, but they weren’t producing at the rate that we think they can. I think Marchand is playing better now; he’s starting to skate a little bit more, so that’s made a difference. Loui's coming back, and I thought Loui skated better tonight too. So slowly but surely that line is getting better and, because of that, I think Patrice is benefiting from that as well.
“It’s good to have some good teammates around you. I thought he did a great job at being at the right spot there on that power play goal, and again in the right place when the empty net was available to him.”
That line scored in the final minute on an empty-net goal after Eriksson won a puck battle in the corner with Dion Phaneuf before directing the biscuit to Bergeron in front of the net.
Even before that point, it had been one of that line’s better efforts this season. That’s a good sign for a Bruins team that will really need Eriksson, Marchand and Bergeron to heat up offensively at this point in the season.
The power-play Bergeron score was a good example of hard work and good puck movement leading to just reward. Dougie Hamilton had done a nice job holding the puck in the offensive zone, and both Reilly Smith and Carl Soderberg had quickly whipped the puck around to create some chaos at the net. That left Bergeron open as Soderberg slid a puck to him, and the perennial Selke Trophy candidate stepped into a shot that beat James Reimer for the game-winning goal.
As always, Bergeron was looking at things from the team point of view, and was just happy to contribute to a two-game winning streak that has Boston starting to right the ship.
“You’ve got to give [the Leafs] credit," Bergeron said. "They’re a great team. They pushed back in the second -- I thought we had a great first period and they pushed back in the second -- and we had to expect that. I thought we came out pretty good in the third and we got that early goal, and we’re able to sustain that pressure. I thought it was a great game on both sides.
“We’re trying to build on the positive right now, especially getting back into playing our game. I think against Florida was a good effort but we could have been better, and tonight I thought was even better than the last game. We got another two point night, so we’ve got to look forward and keep building.”
Just as the Bruins have something to build on in their last two wins, so do Patrice Bergeron and his linemates. They finally seem to be on the same page after some early adversity this season.