BOSTON – There was no doubt frustration and second-guessing crept into Patrice Bergeron’s offensive game over the first few months of the season.
He wasn’t scoring, he wasn’t orchestrating a successful power play and he certainly didn’t feel like he was holding up his end of the bargain for a Bruins team reliant on him for top production.
Mix in an injury that’s appeared to slow Bergeron at times, and the down season, by Bergeron’s standards, seems understandable for Boston’s best player while still noting he’s shouldering a heavy load for the B’s in all situations along with his usual face-off proficiency.
Still, all that appears to be turning over the past few games. He’s scored three goals in the past five games, including a power-play strike in the B’s 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. The goal was classic Bergeron. While firing from the high slot in his PP bumper position, he connected on the perfect setup dish from Ryan Spooner that ended up as the game-winner.
“Yeah, I think it’s nice to get the results. I think you don’t second guess yourself as much and it makes you relax a little bit more. But, you try to do the right things all over the ice,” said Bergeron. “Obviously, I know that offense is a part of my game, and it has to be a part of my game. I have to bring that to the team.
“The puck is going in. I’ve had some good looks earlier in the year and that’s the way it goes sometimes. You have to kind of keeping playing that same way and keeping pushing the puck. It was a great play by Brad [Marchand] and a great pass by Ryan [Spooner], so I had to put that in.”
The Bruins franchise center has seven goals and 12 points in 36 games this season, which still leaves him a long way to go before he’s up to his usual 30-goal, 60-plus point averages. So, the stellar center is maintaining his high level of performances at both ends of the ice while turning up the offensive juice and anchoring a highly effective shutdown line.
Bergeron’s coach surely has his own opinions about why No. 37 struggled so much out of the gate this season, but Claude Julien was less concerned about the “why?” than making certain that it wasn’t going to derail a player finally busting out of his personal funk.
“I think we shouldn’t look for reasons more than it was just a situation. And I think right now, his game is really picking up and through seasons, I mean, again, I can’t stress enough the fact that I look around the league, there’s a lot of other good players right now that are a little under their numbers and stuff like that,” said Julien. “It just happens. But what you want is, you want to see those players work through it and find their game again, and find ways to help the team,
“That’s what Bergy was doing all along. Great penalty kill and he’s still a great faceoff guy and the only thing that had dipped a bit was his production. Right now, he’s finding that again, so we get to see the player we’re used to seeing again.”
That’s all the Bruins can hope for if they as they’ve struggled both offensively and on the power play this season. There are serious signs both the player and the vaunted power play are busting out for the Black and Gold. That can’t happen soon enough for all involved.