RALEIGH, NC Those that have followed Patrice Bergerons career know that the mild-mannered Bruins forward isnt one to drop the gloves and start throwing haymakers unless hes properly provoked.
The Selke Trophy winner and perennial Lady Byng candidate has only truly lost his temper a handful of times on the ice. But a skirmish at the end of regulation in Monday nights 5-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes definitely qualified as the 27-year-old center found himself trading punches with 20-year-old Jeff Skinner at the end of regulation as Tyler Seguin flipped an empty net goal into the net at the other end of the ice.
The only other times Bergeron was running just as hot: during the Stanley Cup Finals two years ago when Alex Burrows took a bite out of his finger during a scrum at the end of the first period of Game 1, and a rivalry game against the Montreal Canadiens when Josh Gorges took a run at the centers head.
So it was expected that a threat to Bergerons health was at the heart of the outburst against the Canes youngster, and a review of the video from Monday night game clearly shows Skinner taking the Bs center down with a slewfoot behind the net. The take-down was violent enough that it also caused defenseman Dennis Seidenberg to trip over Skinner as he was in the act of throwing Bergeron down to the ice.
The refs never caught it because it happened well behind the play as the puck was leaving the Boston zone, and the only penalties called were roughing infractions after both players had tussled in the corner of the ice.
With only eight seconds to go in regulation both Bergeron and Skinner were escorted off the ice to their opposing locker rooms to start cooling down with the game already decided.