Bergeron outshines Toews in Selke Trophy showdown

Bergeron outshines Toews in Selke Trophy showdown
March 28, 2014, 9:30 am
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BOSTON – If Selke Trophy voters wanted to get some video evidence of Patrice Bergeron’s worthiness of the award for a second time, Thursday night might have been Exhibit A in his file bursting with brilliant two-way performances.

Bergeron outplayed fellow Selke Trophy (best defensive forward) favorite Jonathan Toews, and powered a pair of goals past Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford in Boston’s 3-0 win over the Blackhawks at TD Garden. Bergeron’s fingerprints were all over the win: he finished with six shot attempts, scored the two goals to give him 25 goals on the season, had a pair of takeaways and won 15-of-21 face offs while crushing it at both ends of the ice.

Bergeron scored on a redirection of a Matt Bartkowski shot pass in the first period, and then scored the second goal in a 13-second span in the third period that wiped the Blackhawks clear out of the hockey game.

Jonathan Toews, on the other hand, finished with two shots and a pair of giveaways along with a minus-1 rating while also winning just 11-of-22 face offs for the Blackhawks. He appeared to miss his partner in crime, Pat Kane, while Bergeron pushed his NHL-leading total to a plus-38 on the season.

The 25 goals scored on the season are the most for the two-way center since he scored a career-high 31 goals in the 2005-06 season, but Bergeron had no real explanation for the offensive outburst.

“I never really thought about it, to be honest with you. It’s kind of one of those things that – like I said, I’m happy [the puck is] going in but I just want to keep my same game, the same level of play. I want to keep getting better,” said Bergeron. “Obviously, that’s part of my game, it’s to help out offensively and scoring goals and creating plays. I’m definitely happy [the puck is] going in but that being said, I’m happy when I defend a goal as much as scoring them.”

The offensive upswing will certainly have the unintended benefit of drawing people’s attention to his candidacy for the Selke Trophy, and Bergeron has been at the top of his game with six goals in the last five games. Rather than get buried underneath fatigue and a heavy workload coming off his Olympic experience, Bergeron is playing inspired hockey after his gold medal experience in Sochi.

The Bruins are reaping the benefit, and watching the 28-year-old Bergeron play some of the best hockey of his brilliant, achievement-filled NHL career.

“I think it’s pretty clear to everyone that’s watched him play that he values every part of his game," Claude Julien said. "Whether it’s faceoff percentage, whether it’s plus/minus, whether he’s responsible for a goal against – he takes those things every seriously and he’s hard on himself when it comes to that. I think he’s proud of what he is. He’s comfortable in the role that he’s asked to play, and at the same time, it’s always nice to see guys like that get rewarded with some decent stats, which he deserves.”

The decent stats might not add up to Toews’ numbers when both players have finished up their regular season body of work, but Bergeron is finishing up strong while excelling in important categories like face off winning percentage, plus/minus and wins and losses at the team level.

Bergeron and Toews are both winners at the end of the day, but Boston’s resident superstar center had a lot more shine to his game when it was all said and done on Thursday night.