BOSTON – In a 14-year career where Patrice Bergeron has won and accomplished just about everything, he managed to find a way to experience something new on Saturday night.
Bergeron scored a career-high four goals in the Bruins 7-1 trouncing of the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden, and put together a game for the ages where tied a career-high with five points, finished with a plus-4 rating and won 13-of-18 face-offs. There was a shorthanded goal and a primary assist to David Pastrnak on the power play, and there were a couple of strikes in the slot where he does a great deal of his offensive damage these days.
Clearly it won’t even be the fourth or fifth greatest thing that Bergeron has ever accomplished in a career built on winning at the highest levels, but notching a four-goal game is something that will end up on Bergeron’s Greatest Hits reel when it’s all said and done.
"It’s pretty impressive. Seeing him have a game like this is definitely up there...but I think the Olympics, winning the Cup and him just being Patrice Bergeron might be above that,” said Brad Marchand, who assisted on all four of Bergeron’s scored. “We were hoping to get him to six, but it didn’t work out.”
It hasn’t just been a one-game explosion for Bergeron, however, despite his line combining for five goals, 12 points and a plus-11 rating in the blowout win over the Canes. Bergeron has been red-hot during Boston’s two-month surge and has 11 goals and 13 points in his last 11 games to move into a tie with both Marchand and Pastrnak for the team lead with 16 goals scored on the season.
Clearly it’s about Bergeron hitting one of his high notes of the season right along with the rest of the team, but it’s also about a player getting rewarded for all the work that he puts in regularly on a daily basis.
“They were fun to watch when they got puck possession and they ended up getting it to the net with numbers in the slot. High percentage shots. It’s just amazing to watch Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] get a shot off from there,” said Bruce Cassidy. “If you are at Warrior enough, you will see him working on it every morning skate – getting that quick release. Usually Jay [Pandolfo] is out there feeding him pucks, or Joe [Sacco].
“He had four; he might have been able to have six, too. He had some really quality looks. Someone has to get him the puck. Good for that line; told them in the room, they probably got tired of reading about [Sean] Kuraly and [Riley] Nash supplying all of the offense, so they said to heck with that.”
Bergeron also said to heck with the Bruins record books with one highly productive game as he matched the franchise record for goals scored in a single game last achieved by Dave Andreychuk during his brief stint with the Bruins back in 1999. He matched his own career-high achieved once before with his five points, and Bergeron also passed the 700-point mark in an NHL career that’s beginning to hit some big, round numbers.
Just don’t expect the team-oriented Bergeron to dwell on the individual achievement aside from admitting that scoring four goals “was a little fun.” Instead it was about the entire team getting another two points in the standings, the varied offensive production that’s been at the heart of Boston’s recent dominant stretch and linemate David Pastrnak busting out of his 10-game goal-scoring drought.
“I think it was one of those nights where puck was going in, but also I was finding that slot. It seemed like it was open and Brad [Marchand] kept finding me there. He was doing a good job of making those plays. It seemed like I had a lane so I tried to take it,” said Bergeron. “The team’s doing well too, so I don’t think [a slump] is anything anyone should be worried about it’s going to happen during the year. [David Pastrnak] kept putting in the work and helping the team, I’m sure he’s happy with it and it feels good for him. That being said, everyone’s contributing, so it’s been pretty fun to be a part of.”
It certainly feels a long way removed from Bergeron missing the first handful of games to start this season with a nagging injury. The bumps and bruises from the last couple of seasons serve as a reminder that Bergeron isn't getting any younger at this point. But he's also not quite out of his hockey prime yet either with his hockey IQ and legendary work ethic working in his favor.
The stalwart 32-year-old center hasn’t missed even a single shift since coming back into the lineup, and he’s been at his absolute best while putting up the kind of numbers that should be good enough to get him onto the Atlantic Division squad for the NHL All-Star game festivities later on this month.
All of that pales in comparison to the team accomplishments on Bergeron’s lengthy, considerable hockey resume, and it looks like he might just add to that coveted list this season. Let’s just set that aside this time around, however, and simply enjoy one Saturday night where No. 37’s four-goal greatness was on display for everybody to easily appreciate.