Bergeron (leg) game-time decision

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Bergeron (leg) game-time decision

SUNRISE, FL Patrice Bergeron took part in the optional morning skate at BankAtlantic and hes being listed as a game time decision by his coach.

The banged up center full expects to play against the Panthers, however, despite taking a Matti Niskanen slapper off the left knee on Sunday afternoon and a Johnny Boychuk steamed blast off the back of his left leg Tuesday night.

It was one of those things. You cant really control it. I couldnt get out of the way. You hope its not going to hit you, but Johnny has a pretty good shot, said Bergeron, who topped 17 minutes of ice time and won 20-out-of-27 face-offs in the one-sided loss to the Lightning. Im hopeful that it will stay the way it is for the rest of the day. We need to find answers, gain some ground and build up some points. Theres not much time left in the regular season and we need to get on a roll.

Its pretty much the same thing today. Hoping Ill be in the lineup and I felt okay. Youd like to be 100 percent, but its part of the game and Ill be in there hopefully.

Bergeron took Monday off the ice as a maintenance day to tend to his aches and pains, and is expected to center a reunited line between Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin.

After the offensively combustible line of Seguin, David Krejci and Milan Lucic were on the ice for the first three goals allowed against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first period Tuesday night, Claude Julien is looking to reach back to defensive basics by setting No. 37 as the defensive anchor.

Bergeron admitted he was feeling a pretty healthy amount of pain in playing through injury, but he said his willingness to play through discomfort wasnt worth any special acknowledgement at this time of year.

Im not the only one thats got to play through pain. Im no different than anybody else. Its part of the game and it shouldnt be an excuse, said Bergeron. Its just pain tolerance, I guess, and you go from there.

While the Bruins werent going to fully commit to Bergerons place in the lineup given the pain factor in his left leg, the expectation is there that the center will make pregame warm-ups and play in a pivotal game against the Panthers amid a three-game losing streak.

Brady allows himself to enjoy win: '[Bleep], you've got to be happy now'

Brady allows himself to enjoy win: '[Bleep], you've got to be happy now'

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady can be his own worst critic. That's why last week, after beating the Texans in the Divisional Round to move on to the AFC title game, he wasn't thrilled. He didn't play up to his standards. The offense struggled at points. He wore his frustration like a five o'clock shadow.

Winning is not everything for Brady, most weeks. He has an idea of how he should perform, how the Patriots offense should perform, and when those ideals aren't met, he's generally displeased. 

PATRIOTS 36, STEELERS 17

On Sunday, after beating up on the Steelers, 36-17, that wasn't the case. It was a sound performance, but it wasn't perfect. It was explosive at times, but it shined a light on areas where the Patriots will need to continue to improve. 

Despite its imperfections, Sunday was no time to brood about plays missed or lessons learned the hard way. Screw it, Brady seemed to say. They were going to the Super Bowl. It was OK to smile.  

"It was a good day," Brady said. "I mean, we're going to the Super Bowl, man. [Expletive], you've got to be happy now."

The Super Bowl berth is the ninth in franchise history -- more than any other club -- and the seventh with Brady and coach Bill Belichick. By throwing for 384 yards and three touchdowns on 32-of-42 passing, Brady tied Joe Montana for the most postseason games (nine) with three touchdown passes. 

Brady will also claim the record for Super Bowls played when he and the Patriots head to Houston. And if they win, he'll tie Charles Haley for most Super Bowl wins for a player (five).

Those are lofty numbers made even more significant, perhaps, due to the fact that Brady wasn't allowed to start this season as his team's quarterback. He was asked during Sunday's postgame press conference if it was personally satisfying to get back to the Super Bowl despite having to serve a four-game suspension due to Deflategate.

"Well, that's because of the hard work of a lot of people from my coaches to my teammates to our families that support us," he said. "It takes a lot of people, a lot of hard work and a lot of effort over the course of many months. This didn't start at 6:40 tonight.

"This thing started in April. It really started before that in free-agency when we were picking up guys like [Chris] Hogan and drafting guys like Malcolm Mitchell and guy who were in rehab like [LeGarrette Blount] and [Dion Lewis] and [James Develin] and Nate [Solder]. It's a lot of hard work. There are only two teams left standing, and I'm happy we're one of them."

They're going to the Super Bowl. He has to be happy now.