Bergenheim key to Tampa's battle

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Bergenheim key to Tampa's battle

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Tampa Bay's offensive arsenal is packed with high-caliber NHL names: Stamkos, St. Louis, LeCavalier, Bergenheim.

Bergenheim?

Yes. What the winger lacks in household starpower he is making up for with playoff firepower. Sean Bergenheim scored his eighth goal of the postseason in the first period of Tampa's 5-2 win over Boston. The total is more than half his regular-season output (14 G, 80 GM) and currently leads the league.

He's modest.

"Well, you know, it's a good feeling, but to be honest the best feeling is that we're winning," Bergenheim said. "I'm obviously happy that I've been helping the team, but I think it's more of a line effort and our line that's been clicking."

Despite being plucked from the locker room to give the ever-exclusive podium interview, Bergenheim deflected praise toward his teammates. His 'For the Greater Good' attitude is not unusual. It's a good manners practice often exercised by athletes across all sports.

Or it's the honest-to-goodness truth.

Sean Bergenheim isn't threatening to eclipse the talent and skill of Steven Stamkos -- not even close -- but his amped-up efforts do make you consider the Lightning a little differently. Tampa is looking for contributions all over the ice. And finding them.

Martin St. Louis spoke about the role players.

"In the playoffs, you've got to raise your role even more," said St. Louis. "I think Bergenheim's taken a step in his game and that whole line's playing tremendous for us. They're playing some dominant minutes. They're tough to play against and that's what we want."

The 35-year old delivers his quotes tersely.

He's not quite surprised and delighted by the increased production of the bench. To St. Louis, these players are simply matching supply to demand. The playoffs are a time of war -- "good" isn't good enough -- and you can't hand out medals whenever a soldier goes beyond the call of duty. Survival is trickier, the stakes are higher and so is the bar.

Bergenheim has another great night? Slap him on the back and move on.

St. Louis has earned the right to his matter-of-factness. He is a Stanley Cup winner, he is the Lightning's all-time scoring leader, a power play specialist and the jackhammering heart of the team.

And he's exactly right about Bergenheim and the rest.

"Those guys are bringing it, everybody's bringing it," said St. Louis. "We need everybody this time of year. We don't have any passengers and that's why we have had success."

It's so simple: Which side do you want to be on? The side with five goals or the side with two? Do you want to win or do you want to lose? An obvious answer. That's when you look down the second third, and fourth lines and say, Don't tell me; show me.

"Those guys," said winger Teddy Purcell, "at the end of the day are going to make the difference."

On a night when zero goals are scored by St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier (Tampa's No. 3 in franchise scoring history) or Stamkos (his 45 regular season goals were 2nd in the NHL), they have to. They've got to beat David Krejci on face-offs, draw penalties, translate Tomas Kaberle turnovers into points, block shots like Eric Brewer and stay on the net like Bergenheim.

"So far in the playoffs he's been a key," Purcell said. "He's one of the reasons why we're having success."

The Bergenheim sparks of success. Let these bench fires keep blazing? Tampa might burn a fire too big for Boston to put out.

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

BOSTON – While the loss to the Avalanche on Thursday night was a monumental dud, it put another dazzling display on the hockey resume of David Pastrnak. 

The 20-year-old star right winger scored two more goals in the 4-2 loss at TD Garden and nearly brought the Bruins back into the game by himself before another defensive breakdown at the end of the second period doomed them. 

Instead, Pastrnak had to settle with being the proud owner of 18 goals scored in 23 games that places him in a tie with NHL superstar Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals. 

The goals also showed his wide range of lethal offensive skills. On the first score, he just broke away from the Avalanche defense and managed to bury a second-effort breakaway chance after a nice Tim Schaller stretch pass off the boards. The second goal was a straight one-timer bomb from the high slot off a slick setup pass from Brad Marchand in the corner, and it had the Bruins right back into the mix after a dreadful first period. 

It wasn’t enough when the B’s defense faltered again toward the end of the second period, but it was enough for everybody to be singing Pastrnak’s praises once again following the loss. 

“He’s a game changer. The momentum is going the other way, and he has the ability to break away on any given shift and score a big goal for us. He did that tonight,” said Torey Krug. “We can’t just keep relying on the same guys to score goals. We’ve got to come up with secondary offense, and I know every other guy wants to do that. 

“Now it’s about showing that on the ice and making sure we’re doing the work and getting better and proving to ourselves. But Pasta [David Pastrnak] has been great for us so far, and we’re obviously lucky to have him.”

The 18 goals barely two months into the season are not too shabby for a kid, in his third NHL season, who just now coming into his own. He’s nearly halfway to 40 before Christmas. For Pastrnak, however, it’s about the team result and he wasn’t overly satisfied with his two goals in a losing effort. 

“I’ve said before the season that our goal is to make the playoffs and to have that experience and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m still focusing on that,” said Pastrnak, who has yet to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs in his two-plus seasons with the Black and Gold. “We have zero points from tonight’s game and we have to move on. I think our game gets better in the second and third periods, you know, and we have to regroup and get ready for Saturday’s game.”

The Bruins will undoubtedly regroup and once again count on another Pastrnak offensive explosion to help lead the way in what’s become a truly spectacular season for the youngster. 

Khudobin simply ‘has got to be better’ for Bruins

Khudobin simply ‘has got to be better’ for Bruins

BOSTON – There wasn’t much for Anton Khudobin to say after it was all over on Thursday night. 

The B’s backup netminder allowed four goals on 22 shots while looking like he was fighting the puck all night. It was one of the big reasons behind a tired-looking 4-2 loss to the lowly Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

The loss dropped Khudobin to 1-4-0 on the season and puts him at a 3.02 goals-against average and .888 save percentage this season. Three of the four goals beat Khudobin despite him getting a pretty good look at them. The ultimate game-winner in the second period from John Mitchell just beat him cleanly on the short side. 

Matt Duchene beat Khudobin from the slot on a play that was a bad defense/bad goaltending combo platter to start the game and MacKinnon ripped a shorthanded bid past the Bruins netminder to put Boston in a hole against a woeful Colorado team. 

Afterward, Khudobin didn’t have much to say, with just one good performance among five games played for the Black and Gold this season. 

“Four goals is too much. That’s it,” said a to-the-point Khudobin, who was then asked how he felt headed into the game. “I don’t know; too much energy…yeah, too much. I don’t know. I just had a lot of energy and I think it just didn’t work out my way.”

Khudobin didn’t really expand on why he had too much energy, but perhaps it’s because the compacted schedule has really curtailed the team’s ability to hold team practices on a regular basis. Or maybe he was just disappointed it took him a week to get back between the pipes after playing his best game of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Either way Claude Julien said that the Bruins needed better goaltending on a night where they weren’t at their sharpest physically or mentally, and Khudobin clearly wasn’t up to the challenge this time around. 

“We needed some saves tonight and we didn’t get them. He’s got to be better. A lot of things here that we can be better at and take responsibility [for],” said Julien. “But at the same time, you got to move on here. To me it’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, and we would have had a chance. Now we’ve got to move forward.”

Clearly, the Bruins have no choice but to move on with a busy schedule that doesn’t let up anytime soon, but one of the lessons learned from Thursday night is that the Bruins need to get better backup goaltending from a collective crew (Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban included) that’s won just once in eight games behind Tuukka Rask this season.