Bruins

How leadership of Bergeron, Foligno helped Bruins in Winter Classic win

Bruins

BOSTON -- The Winter Classic isn't just another regular season game. It's much more than that. And through two periods of Monday afternoon's matchup at Fenway Park, the Boston Bruins were facing the possibility of suffering their most disappointing loss of the season.

The Pittsburgh Penguins took a 1-0 lead in the second period on a goal by Kasperi Kapanen. The Bruins were having trouble creating quality scoring chances and probably would've been trailing by multiple goals entering the third period if not for starting goalie Linus Ullmark's excellent play.

DeBrusk's Winter Classic heroics are latest example of his amazing turnaround

A couple Bruins veterans helped the team stay focused late in the afternoon, including Nick Foligno and captain Patrice Bergeron

"At the end of the second, Foligno asked me if he could have the room. I said yes you can," Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery revealed in his postgame press conference. "Again, things were 1-1 and Pittsburgh was forechecking us and we weren't getting pucks out. I was getting a little negative and Bergy goes, 'We're going to be all right.'"

Montgomery then added, with a laugh, "It was another way for us to communicate to me like, these guys have got it. I can just shut up behind the bench."

Bergeron has played in a lot of these outdoor games. Monday was the fifth of his career and fourth Winter Classic appearance. His calm presence on the bench likely played a role -- however big -- in the Bruins' excellent finish to the game, which included Jake DeBrusk's go-ahead goal with 2:24 remaining in the third period. Boston ultimately held on for a 2-1 victory.

 

We shouldn't lose sight of Foligno's impact on the team this season. After a difficult first campaign in Boston, the 16-year veteran has been a much more productive and consistent player for the B's. He's also one of the most respected players in the league and a former captain of the Columbus Blue Jackets. His leadership ability is fantastic.

What was his message to the team in the second intermission?

"He just kinda got everybody in and just talked about our team, our team throughout the year and what we've been able to do and how we've been able to do it," DeBrusk said after the game.

"This is an event, and it's a dream come true and we don't want to waste it. You don't want to come after a game and think you could have done more or wish you had done something, because you never know -- we might not get another chance to do it. I think it was moreso the message of we know what we can do as a group. We're the best third period team in the league and let's go prove it."

Bruins arrive to 2023 Winter Classic in throwback Red Sox jerseys

The Bruins have a very veteran roster. Nine of the players who dressed for the Winter Classic are age 30 or older. A bunch of these players have 10-plus years of NHL experience. They know what it takes to win and close out games, and this is one factor in why the Bruins are the best third-period team in the league with a plus-31 goal differential (2-0 on Monday).

This Bruins team plays with a ton of confidence and a strong belief that if they stick to their style of play, they will eventually be rewarded. That was the case Monday evening on the league's biggest regular season stage in one of sports' most iconic venues.