Bruce Cassidy on Patrice Bergeron: 'He's a shooter this year'

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Bruce Cassidy on Patrice Bergeron: 'He's a shooter this year'

BOSTON – Patrice Bergeron just keeps on scoring, and keeps on pushing his way into the Hart Trophy conversation. 

The Bruins No. 1 center scored two more goals, including the third period game-winner, in Boston’s 5-2 win over the Calgary Flames at TD Garden on Tuesday night, and has entered into the NHL’s top-10 in scoring with his 27 goals this season. Bergeron is currently tied with Calgary’s Sean Monahan for ninth with his team-leading 27 goals, and now has 17 goals in his last 19 games in a hot streak.

Sure, Bergeron’s 51 points have him tied for 30th in the NHL with just a couple of months left in the regular season, but we’re also talking about the league’s best defensive forward, and the center on the NHL’s best forward line that’s also on pace for a career-high 41 goals and 78 points this season. He may not win the top spot in points around the NHL, but the Hart Trophy is given out to the league’s most valuable player, not the guy with the most points. 


“I don’t know, yeah I’m trying to shoot more. I’m trying to put the puck on net. Obviously when you’re in a tight game you’re trying to make a difference and trying to find a way. Our line tried to make something happen,” said Bergeron. “That’s what we’re on the ice for and we were fortunate enough to get the fourth one and the power play we always talk about doing the job – that was a great pass from Torey.

“It’s hard to really compare from one year to another, I think. I’m going out there and I’m trying to help my team every night and trying to push myself like I mentioned, and be better. I think my line mates and my teammates are pushing me to do that. I need to carry that on, I guess.”

Bergeron also leads the Bruins with five game-winning goals on the season after his clutch work in the final 20 minutes of Tuesday night’s win: He sniped home a beautiful shot off the rush on the power play for the game-winner, and then iced the game with a beautiful tip of a Brad Marchand point shot that tucked right under the crossbar. 

Put it all together and it’s another highlight-filled game in a season that’s shaping up to be Bergeron’s best ever at 32-year-old. 

“He’s been doing it for years, so there’s no surprise there,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Good timing this year. Bergy is hot. He’s a shooter this year, and it’s finding the back of the net, so good for him. The power-play goal is something we saw in the first period on the entries; they were jamming us at the blue line, so we made a little adjustment, thought we could sneak behind them, and [Torey] Krug executed a great pass and perfect timing. 

“So, we got in behind them and, we were able to capitalize. Like I said, Bergy, from that area of the ice, he’s lights out this year and getting rewarded for hitting the net, first of all, and putting it in a tough spot for the goalie to handle.”

The Bruins have to hope that Bergeron continuing to push himself keeps leading to the increased production, and keeps No. 37 in the conversation for all the heavy hardware handed out to the league’s best players at the end of the year.



Cassidy eyeing possible Bergeron return this weekend

File Photo

Cassidy eyeing possible Bergeron return this weekend

Bruins star center Patrice Bergeron has been dealing with a fractured foot injury since late February. He sustained the injury while blocking a shot in the loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Coach Bruce Cassidy is predicting a return for Bergeron this weekend against the Minnesota Wild if he is medically cleared. He will be evaluated tomorrow.

Depending on the results from the evaluation, there might not even be a need to rush Bergeron back with the Bruins clinching a playoff berth in a 2-1 OT loss to the Blues yesterday evening.

MORE BRUINS: Bruins clinch playoff berth in 2-1 OT loss to Blues​

The Bruins currently sit two games behind the Tampa Bay Lighting for first place in the Atlantic Division. Ten games currently remain on the B’s schedule with the Presidents' Trophy also hanging in the balance.

If the B’s decide to make a run for the Presidents' Trophy, Bergeron would definitely provide a boost in play in addition to leadership for the final stretch of the regular season.


Now that they're officially in, Bruins need to get healthy

Now that they're officially in, Bruins need to get healthy

Here’s what we learned from the Bruins' 2-1 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night at the Scottrade Center:

1) This team is now bona-fide playoff material. 

We knew this was coming for months after the Black and Gold went on an epic three-month hot streak that catapulted them to second place in the Atlantic Division and within a couple of wins of catching the Tampa Bay Lightning. Now that the Bruins have hit the 100-point mark and clinched the playoffs with the overtime point they got Wednesday, it’s now going to be about positioning for the postseason. That means giving all their injured players ample time to heal and be as close to 100 percent as possible and perhaps even eventually giving up on catching the Lighting for the No. 1 overall seed if it means sacrificing anything for full readiness in the postseason. But that’s a story for the first few weeks of April. On this Thursday, let’s just appreciate a Bruins team that’s clinched a playoff berth weeks ahead of time and is considered one of the odds-on favorites to go on a run this spring. Whether it’s fighting through the adversity of  injuries, getting major contributions from perhaps the best rookie class in the history of the Black and Gold or showing the heart of a champion in many, many memorable comeback wins, the Bruins have shown an “aura of greatness” this season. Not the greatness that comes along with being a longstanding dynasty, but the greatness that comes along with the promise they hold for doing great things in the Stanley Cup playoffs. This Bruins team is worth your time and interest and could very well produce the best sports experience for a Boston fan this spring. All of those bode very well for where the Bruins are headed.

2) How about that Ryan Donato? 

Two goals in two games is pretty darned good for the 21-year-old and he once again showed his nose for the net and his excellent shot while burying a puck on edge in the slot area thanks to a bad decision Alex Pietrangelo. All that being said, Donato was very quiet after that point in a heavy, physical game and didn’t do much after Dmitri Jaskin blasted him into the side boards in the second period. Clearly, Donato is courageous for a young guy and has the willingness to go to the scoring areas, but it will be instructive to see how he responds to the heavy, hard-hitting treatment he’s going to get in the NHL. As he scores and gets notoriety, there is going to be more punishment and hard hits thrown his way and it’s going to be up to him to adjust and continue to be as effective. Donato will get that chance, but he now knows it’s not going to be as easy as it looked on that first night at the Garden.

3) The Bruins could use some good health soon.

With Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, David Backes and Rick Nash among others missing from the lineup, the Bruins become a much smaller, weaker team that’s increasingly easy to pick on. That’s exactly what the Blues did after falling behind early. There were heavy St. Louis hits thrown all over the ice, including the culmination when Brayden Schenn drilled David Krejci in the corner of the rink. The Bruins never really responded to any of it and instead just kept taking hits and eventually got totally worn down in the third period and overtime when they were just hanging on for their playoff point. Certainly, they can survive in games here or there playing that way, but more Bruins are going to get hurt if opponents are allowed to simply tee off on them as they did on Wednesday night. That won’t be good for anybody associated with the Black and Gold.


*Anton Khudobin was blaming himself for the two goals allowed after the game was over, but the truth is that the Bruins wouldn’t have even got their playoff-clinching point if Khudobin hadn’t stopped a Dmitri Jaskin shot with his goalie mask in the closing seconds. Khudobin was the losing goalie, but he made the big save when the Bruins needed him on Thursday night.

*Donato scored the only goal of the night for the Bruins on a loose puck in the slot that was on edge. He now has two goals and
four points in his first two NHL games. Donato was pretty quiet after that, but how much can you really expect out of the 21-year-old at this point?

*All of the St. Louis offense was supplied by Jaden Schwartz, who beat the Bruins with a wrist shot from the top of the face-off circle in the third period and then went on a breathtaking one-man rush in OT for the game-winner. Schwartz stepped up with Vladimir Tarasenko down and injured right now.


*One shot on net for David Pastrnak in 20-plus minutes. He did alter the path of the Alex Pietrangelo clearing attempt that turned into Ryan Donato’s goal, but was otherwise quiet in a very physical game.

*Nick Holden played almost 25 minutes of ice time and blocked four shots in the absence of Boston’s top three defensemen and was, by and
large, pretty good throughout the game. But he did back off and give Schwartz way too much room to work with on the tying goal. It was also a tough line change as well, but somebody needs to step up and slow down the Blues there.

*Danton Heinen was called for slashing in the second period on a play that was literally a one-handed tap with the stick on a completely
inconsequential play. The NHL really needs to take a chill pill with these slashing calls. That one was bogus.