Slumping Bergeron looks 'to keep plugging at it' offensively

Slumping Bergeron looks 'to keep plugging at it' offensively

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins have been able to win hockey games and for the most part keep up pace with the rest of their Eastern Conference competition. 

But the Bruins also scored a grand total of four goals in their three-game road trip through Arizona, Colorado and Minnesota. Their top two forwards, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, have gone ice cold during that stretch. Bergeron has a surprising zero points in his past six games and only two goals and four points in 14 games this season. 

It feels like Bergeron has been looking to get into that normal offensive groove ever since the NHL regular season started and it’s simply eluded him to this point. 

Missing time with a lower body injury at the beginning of the season certainly didn’t help Bergeron’s momentum or production. There have been times on ice when he hasn’t looked exactly his usual dominant self in all zones. There's also the zeroes across the board for No. 37 on the power play, an area where he dominated offensively last season for a pretty decent B's special teams group.  

Bergeron has managed 25 shots on net in those past six scoreless games, however, and enjoyed his share of offensive chances. 

So, he’s trying to avoid simple frustration amid a pointless streak, and working hard to get something going for himself, and for his linemates.  

“It’s second nature to get frustrated, but that’s just going to make things worse. It’s about making sure you’re really bearing down and doing the things that give you success. When you keep working hard you’re going to get those chances, and they’re going to go in eventually. Then the confidence is going to build up,” said Bergeron. “Obviously the points aren’t coming, so you just keep plugging at it and finding ways to create chances. Eventually it’s going to go in. 

“For me it’s about making sure I’m helping defensively and playing both ways. That’s part of my game, so I’m just trying to do that.”

After a torrid start to his season, Marchand has just one goal in his past eight games and was uncharacteristically invisible in Thursday night’s loss to the Minnesota Wild. Both forwards will have to ignite offensively Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets with right wing David Pastrnak out for the second straight game, but Claude Julien said the chances are there for the dynamic duo to begin another scoring binge for the Black and Gold. 

“They are getting their chances. It’s important for them not to get frustrated because when I look at some of the scoring chances – Bergeron had like four of them [against Minnesota] in that last game – that’s the encouraging part,” said Julien. “It’s just a matter of time before those guys score again. We were patient with some other guys earlier in the season when they were slow out of the gate, and they started turning things around.

“I’m confident those guys will do the same thing. But as long as we’re winning hockey games, or most of them, you can live with that stuff. You just have to hope it turns around quickly. We hope that happens, and it helps us win even more.”

It would seem to be a matter of time before the next Bergeron and Marchand offensive explosion. Now might be an opportune time with another five game stretch over the next 7 ½ days ending with a Sunday afternoon home matinee vs. Tampa Bay. 

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.