PHILADELPHIA – Patrice Bergeron is exactly known for being a goal-scorer, but that’s what has made the past two weeks all the more fun.
Bergeron made it seven consecutive games with a goal when he notched a spinning score that gave the Bruins a lead they couldn’t hold in the second period, and added a bonus goal when he opened the shootout with a successful bid.
Eventually, Reilly Smith was the player to provide the winning shootout goal in a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center, but people were talking about Bergeron’s offensive streak after the hard-fought game. It’s the first time a Bruins player has scored in seven straight games since Geoff Courtnall did it in 1985-86 and it has shown the offensive spotlight on Bergeron.
Even, if he doesn’t exactly enjoy its blinding glare.
“I should just keep putting it on net, I guess,” said Bergeron. “It’s one of those streaks where the puck is going in, and I don’t think I’m doing anything different. It’s just that I keep trying to play my game 200 feet, and play it on both sides. My linemates and everyone are still helping me.
“Nobody is really looking at who is scoring because it’s about winning. It’s fun like that.”
On the NBC telecast, Mike Milbury even mentioned Bergeron’s 27 goals and 56 points and NHL-leading plus-36 as being worthy of the Hart Trophy, but that’s taking it a little too far. (As does Michael Felger on Postgame Live in the video above.) The 27 goals are the second-highest total of Bergeron’s career and he’s got a very good shot to hit 30 goals for only the second time in his seemingly perfect hockey career.
While Ryan Getzlaf and Claude Giroux might have legitimate claims to the award and Ben Bishop deserves consideration for the job he’s done with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Hart Trophy has been Sidney Crosby’s award all season. Crosby has 34 goals and 97 points in 74 games and has been one of the only healthy players willing the Pittsburgh Penguins to a Metro Division championship, despite all kinds of injuries pillaging that team all season.
Sad as it is to say, Bergeron simply doesn’t have enough points for the award: the previous 16 forwards to win the Hart Trophy were top-three finishers in either points or goals scored. Bergeron isn’t close in either of those categories, but his goal-scoring spree does make him an even more attractive candidate for his second Selke Trophy in the last three seasons.
Bergeron (+36) has fallen behind David Krejci (+37) atop the NHL leader board for plus/minus, but he’s still winning 58.7 percent of his face-offs, killing penalties and shutting down the league’s best offensive players and adding an enhanced offensive component this season. PHWA voters sometimes need the “bright, shiny object” of good offensive numbers even for a defensive award, and Bergeron’s stats don’t take a backseat to Jonathan Toews or Anze Kopitar this season.
“It’s pretty cool and pretty amazing. [Bergeron] takes a lot of pride in his defensive game, but he’s really contributing offensively,” said teammate Zdeno Chara. “You can see that a lot of the shots and chances he’s getting, he’s putting in. For a guy that plays against top lines and is putting up big offensive numbers, he’s shown that he is, for sure, the Selke [winner] to me.”
Consideration for the Hart Trophy would be nice and Bergeron will get some token votes given his value to the best team in the NHL, but if there’s any justice in the world, No. 37 will be walking away with another Selke Award for his already crowded trophy room.