Patrice Bergeron once again performs miracles in return to Bruins lineup

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Patrice Bergeron once again performs miracles in return to Bruins lineup

BOSTON – Patrice Bergeron has always been known for the extraordinary during his 15 years with the Boston Bruins.

That was the case again on Saturday afternoon as No. 37 returning to the B’s lineup after missing the last 16 games with a chest injury, and proceeded to score a pair of goals and factor in three B’s goals while helping them roll to a 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators at TD Garden. Bergeron kicked off the scoring in the second period when he roamed through the slot, took a Charlie McAvoy drop-down pass and then threw a double-move on a Vezina Trophy-winning goalie, Pekka Rinne, before snapping a wrist shot into the net for his 10th goal of the season.

For just about anybody else in the NHL it would have been impossible to have a game like that after missing the previous five weeks, but it was simply Bergeron being Bergeron.

“[Bergeron] is one of the best players in the league. You know, it shows a lot. The fact that he is able to come back and just jump into the game and get four points against a team like Nashville who is one of top teams in the league [is impressive],” said Bergeron’s longtime partner-in-crime Brad Marchand. “They play very fast. Probably one of the faster games we have had all year. It’s tough to jump in after five weeks and feel good. He is an incredible leader and player and he showed that again tonight.

“Just the chemistry that we have had and the amount of time we have played together. Sometimes there can be a hole when one of us goes down. But, it’s a lot of fun, he is an incredible player. He makes so many great plays. He is so easy to read off of, so it’s a lot of fun having him back.”

It would have been a full day for many returning players to simply have the one goal, but Bergeron scored again in the third period while scooping up a loose puck in front of the Boston at the tail end of a B’s power play. Then Bergeron assisted on each of the next two goals to finish off with two goals, four points and a plus-2 rating in a busy 16:25 of ice time.

He was dominant on the power play with the offense flowing through him at the bumper spot, and was as dogged on the penalty kill as ever. He also took 25 draws over the course of the game, so it was the same old Bergeron on so many different levels in the best way possible.

And what about the icing on top of the Bergeron sundae?

That would be the fact that his second goal of the game was also the 300th of his NHL career, which is another in a line of milestones that should include playing in his 1,000th NHL game at the beginning of February. True to Bergeron fashion, he said he had no idea about the significance of the goal when the referee skated over to him with the puck after he scored.

“I actually didn’t know,” said Bergeron. “The ref came with the puck on the bench, and he was like, ‘Oh it’s 300’, and I had actually no idea. I was like, ‘No, I don’t think it’s me, [maybe] someone else.’ Then he was like, ‘Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s you.’ So, that’s how much I keep up with my stats.”

As much as Bergeron brings the noise as a game-breaking offensive performer and a defensive shutdown guy that put the clamps on Ryan Johansen on Saturday, it’s also about the energy and leadership that comes along with his presence. It was clear to see over the last few days that the familiar No. 37 brought a little extra life into a B’s group that had been grinding for a while, and that was apparent on the ice against a strong Nashville team.

“It felt great. That’s what I told the guys. Sometimes when you’re in it, you play for a while – it’s game whatever, 35 of the season – and you don’t appreciate it as much,” said Bergeron. “I told them to be thankful because I’ve been missing it for so long.

“It’s one of those things that I was just trying to talk to the guys and be vocal that we’ve got to enjoy it, and just go out there and have fun.”

So now Bergeron is back in the fold and once again rolling with Marchand on his left, and giving Danton Heinen a try on the right side. Zdeno Chara and Kevan Miller are not far behind with next week as a realistic time for their return, and Jake DeBrusk is poised to make a return sooner rather than later as well.

So the B’s are getting fully healthy pretty quickly.

But none of the others figure to have the kind of team-altering performance like Bergeron did on Saturday when he made it clear the best player in Black and Gold was back at full strength for his appreciative hockey club.

Not that it should have surprised anybody given the way Bergeron makes the spectacular look routine just about every time he takes the ice.  

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Bruins' Jake DeBrusk hopes to bust out in Stanley Cup Final: 'I have a lot more to give'

Bruins' Jake DeBrusk hopes to bust out in Stanley Cup Final: 'I have a lot more to give'

BOSTON – Jake DeBrusk had more goals (six) and points (eight) in the Bruins' two-round playoff run last spring than he’s had his this postseason (three goals and seven points) as the B's enter the Stanley Cup Final.

DeBrusk was a force last year in the first round when he scored five goals against the Maple Leafs, but it’s been a tougher slog for the skilled left winger while chipping in here or there for the Black and Gold. So, it’s no surprise that DeBrusk says he feels like he might be a little due in the Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues. One of his patented hot streaks would be a welcome development for the Black and Gold.

The lack of a hot points stretch this postseason has been tough for DeBrusk to swallow.

“Everyone is hard on themselves and has expectations, but [the points] are not the main point for me," DeBrusk said. "The win is the biggest thing. If you don’t do what you want to do but the team wins then that’s all that matters this time of year. So that does help. But when you lose and you lose a tight game, it doesn’t necessarily creep in there…but you put more pressure on yourself or to be that guy, or be the difference. It just hasn’t happened for me personally.

“Usually for teams that I’ve been on the past I’ve had to be that guy, so it’s a little bit of a different feeling with things not going into the net as much. Goals help with my confidence, but my overall game play itself I haven’t liked at all. So, it’s just a matter of going out and doing it. It won’t be easy, but it’s a matter of doing it for the team.”

It’s also not out of the realm of possibility that it could happen based on DeBrusk’s mix of speed, power and skill going up against a St. Louis defensemen corps that’s long on size and strength while at times short on skating speed. That will be part of DeBrusk’s plan to get some separation on the Blues D-men and get pucks to the net in the kind of old-fashioned net-drive game he features when he’s at his best.

“I feel like I have a lot more to give with these playoffs. Personally, it hasn’t been what I wanted from a production standpoint, but we’re in the Stanley Cup Final. So, there are obviously bigger things at hand,” said DeBrusk, who is at least getting his shots on net with 50 shots in these playoffs. “But I’d like to find different ways to help this team and there’s no time better than now. The way that I’m going to have to play to have success is my bread and butter in a sense. It’s not going to be easy.

“It’s going to be tough. But getting into those hard areas is going to be my focus, especially against those big defensemen. That’s what I excel at. You’re going to take some bumps and bruises along the way, but I think that’s also where I can use my speed. I think that’s a big aspect I need to bring into the series.”

It could go one of two ways for DeBrusk in the Final against the Blues.  

DeBrusk could continue to futilely chase after consistency and be frustrated as he’s been at times through the first three rounds. Or this could be the series where DeBrusk’s work on the second line and his net-front presence on the power play turn into consistent offense and help get him and his team exactly where they want to go.  

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Charlie Coyle opens up about trade from Wild to Bruins

Charlie Coyle opens up about trade from Wild to Bruins

Before the 2019 NHL trade deadline, Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle went through a trying experience. Then a member of the Minnesota Wild, Coyle was told that he had been traded. However, he couldn't yet know where he was going.

“I had a missed call and a text from [general manager] Paul [Fenton] and so I just knew, obviously,” Coyle said, per Michael Russo of The Athletic. “I called him and he told me I was involved in a trade, so don’t go on the plane. But he couldn’t tell me where I was going yet because it’s not finalized. He felt really bad about it.

“It was so weird because suddenly I’m at a place where I’m not on an NHL team for however many hours. I don’t know where I am. I can’t say goodbye to my teammates. It’s so hard to tell my family, my girlfriend, my friends, ‘I’m traded, we’re going somewhere … but I don’t know where yet.’”

Fenton did say to Coyle “I think in the end you’ll be OK” with the destination. And that certainly was the case.

Coyle was sent to the Bruins in exchange for Ryan Donato and a fifth-round pick. Coyle had grown up in Weymouth, Mass., and was being given a chance to play for his hometown team. And since joining the squad, he has provided a massive upgrade for a problem spot in their lineup.

Coyle has solidified the Bruins' weak third line and has proven to be a revelation for the team, especially during their Cup run. So far in the postseason, Coyle has been excellent, logging 12 points (six goals, six assists) and a plus-9 rating through 17 playoff games. That rating is tied for third-best on the team.

Most importantly, Coyle has proven to be clutch and scored a key, game-winning goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of their series. In overtime, Coyle took a pass from Marcus Johansson and placed it perfectly into the back of the net from close range on Sergei Bobrovsky. It was a beautiful play and one that fulfilled a life-long dream for Coyle.

“I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’d put the net in front of my driveway and either play with the neighborhood kids or myself and score the big playoff-winning goal for the Bruins,” Coyle said via Russo. “And then to actually do it in reality … with my family in the crowd, oh my God.”

Coyle will certainly have a chance to perform well and etch himself into Boston sports folklore during the Stanley Cup Final. But certainly, the Bruins have to be glad about the return they got on the trade for Coyle. While some thought that giving up Donato and a draft pick was a steep price, Coyle has proven to be a key cog for the team.

Coyle will once again suit up in front of the TD Garden crowd on Monday at 8 p.m. ET when the Bruins take on the St. Louis Blues. Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final can be seen on NBC or streamed on the NBC Sports App.

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