Bergeron breaks through to help B's advance

Bergeron breaks through to help B's advance
May 14, 2013, 2:15 am
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GAME 7: BRUINS 5, LEAFS 4

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BOSTON -- While Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand were more struggling than snake-bitten during the first round series against the Maple Leafs before Game 7, Patrice Bergeron was truly struck with bad puck luck against Toronto.

But the 27-year-old Bruins alternate captain kept working and pushing while not allowing himself to get discouraged, and all of that paid off like the center never would have believed in Boston’s amazing come-from-behind, 5-4 overtime win over the Leafs at TD Garden. The Selke Trophy winner potted the game-tying goal with 51 seconds remaining in the third period with the goaltender pulled, and then jammed in front of the net for the game-winner just 6:05 into overtime.

“I really was happy for him. He’s a hard worker, reliable player that we lean on every game, every year,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “I don’t think his stats were indicative of his series so far. For him to come up big like that when it really counted, I think is fitting for Patrice Bergeron.”

The two goals scored, added to Bergeron’s power play strike scored earlier in the series, made it a tenable situation for a player that was admirably attempting to turn some of the frustration into determination. The hard-working center can sometimes go through times of offensive difficulty when hard work simply isn't enough, but his offensive instincts and production have been good.

“I have high expectations of myself. I’m probably my hardest critic. Whatever pressure is outside of me, I don’t really worry about it because I know I bring higher expectations than anyone else,” said Patrice Bergeron. “It’s about finding a way and showing some character. I thought we did that tonight. Everyone has to step up in the playoffs and tonight was my turn to do it for my team.”

Things didn’t seem like they were going to be a rosy ending for Bergeron or for the Black and Gold. After putting together a solid first 10 minutes of the game, the Bruins really stunk up the joint from midway through the first period to the midpoint mark of the third period. The Bruins were down 4-1 at that point in the game things looking bleak, but the Bruins team leaders, Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic, took control of Boston’s comeback attempts.

It was as if Boston’s best players came together knowing what was at stake, and decided there was no way they would let the Black and Gold fall on their watch.

“It was a big game. You obviously want to win and that tying goal was definitely huge for the team and also for me,” said Bergeron. “It was a great feeling and emotions were very high, obviously. It was fun. It was a fun ending.”

Horton and Lucic both scored goals to make it a 4-3 game, and Bergeron snapped off a wrist shot from the high slot that made it past James Reimer aided by a Zdeno Chara screen. Bergeron’s goal arrived just 31 seconds after Milan Lucic’s rebound score, and set up Bergeron’s second goal in overtime.

This time No. 37 was simply working around the net, and waited for a loose puck in front to fire him with his deadly shot. It was the first shift of the game that Claude Julien had placed Seguin on the ice with Brad Marchand and Bergeron, and all three worked with each other to create the overtime goal that vanquished the Leafs.

It was the end of a banner night for Bergeron, who finished with a pair of goals scored, three points, a plus-3, six shots on net, four hits and 16-of-22 record in the face-off circle in a winner-take-all Game 7.

Bergeron and the rest of the Bruins will get a breather before opening their second round series against the New York Rangers Thursday night at TD Garden, but they also know they’ll need to be ready for the Blueshirts. The confidence boost of Game 7’s epic comeback and second round advancement should be the two-way center exactly where he needs to be, and the rest of the Bruins will then normally follow the lead of a player in Bergeron, who has earned respect everywhere he goes.