Patrice Bergeron pronounces himself healthy after playing in Bruins' preseason finale

Patrice Bergeron pronounces himself healthy after playing in Bruins' preseason finale

BOSTON — Patrice Bergeron viewed suiting up for a preseason game as the final hump to get over before feeling healthy and ready to start the regular season.

The 34-year-old center was brought on deliberately during training camp while dealing with a lingering groin injury that required treatment over the summer, but it’s been a steady improvement upward since sitting out the first weekend of training camp. Bergeron amazingly didn’t factor into the scoring in Boston’s 8-2 drubbing of the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden, but he did look like himself with three shot attempts and a plus-2 rating in 12:47 of ice time while winning 8-of-12 faceoffs against a glorified AHL lineup for Chicago.

Afterward Bergeron said it’s all systems go for him to start the season Thursday night in Dallas, and it certainly appears he’ll be centering Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak on the Perfection Line as usual.

“It felt good to get the first one underway,” said Bergeron. “It’s always good to get your legs underneath you, and to get your timing and rhythm back. It was what I was expecting and it was fine. I’m excited to get into the battle with the guys and going through the ups and downs of a regular season.”

It was certainly important to get No. 37 some game reps with his linemates and to get the top PP unit a few times over the boards against Chicago, and the Bruins got all of that and then some in the opening 20 minutes against the Blackhawks. A mere 20 minutes later the B’s top unit had a pair of power play goals and the Bruins had ostensibly already got enough work in to be ready for the season opener, and now it becomes about trying to keep Bergeron healthy for the year.

Bergeron has missed 35 games over the last two seasons to assorted bumps and bruises and was slowed down by the groin issue in the Stanley Cup Final. So much attention is going to be paid to managing Bergeron’s minutes and workload, keeping him healthy and making certain he’s at his best late in the year when it matters most.

“I think it’s just maintaining what I’ve been trying to do strengthening my core as much as possible,” said Bergeron, who finished with 32 goals and a career-high 79 points in 65 games last season. “Obviously there’s a lot of luck that goes into it as well. You try to compete and play hard every night and that’s all that I can really focus on.”

Certainly Bergeron is off to a good start with good health to start the regular season, and an aim to preserving that for an entire season for the first time in three years headed into his 16th NHL season.

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Bruins-Hurricanes simulation: Canes beat B's 1-0 on flukey goal

Bruins-Hurricanes simulation: Canes beat B's 1-0 on flukey goal

The NHL season has been put on hold due to the coronavirus crisis, meaning we may have to wait a while to watch the Boston Bruins again.

As a way to make up for the loss of Bruins action, we'll be using the EA Sports NHL 20 video game to simulate each game on Boston's schedule until they finally return to action.

Previous Simulations:

The Boston Bruins were supposed to take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night at PNC Arena, here's how our simulation of that game went.

The B's fell to the Canes 1-0 on a flukey third-period goal that slipped by Tuukka Rask. 

Here are the game stats:

Three Stars of the Game + Game Stats

Anton Forsberg, Tuukka Rask and Andrei Svechnikov were the three stars of the game. The Hurricanes led in shots with 25 and they also had three power-play opportunities that they squandered. The Bruins seemed to have passed too much in the offensive zone and didn't take enough shots on goal in the loss when comparing the shots to their time on attack.  

Bruins Individual Stats

Charlie McAvoy led all B's skaters in ice time with 23:42 while David Krejci and David Pastrnak each had three shots on goal. Tuukka Rask stopped 24 of 25 shots in the loss, but the defense didn't help them out too much.

Hurricanes Individual Stats

Jaccob Slavin led all Hurricanes skaters in ice time with 24:11 and Martin Necas led in shots with four. Anton Forsberg stopped all 17 shots faced and the Hurricanes sneak by with a flukey goal from Andrei Svechnikov.

FINAL SCORE: Hurricanes 1, Bruins 0

Bruins Record (Includes simulated games): 47-16-14 (107 points)

*NOTE: We did not include Boston's games against the Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs or Florida Panthers in the simulation, therefore the simulated record isn't 100 percent accurate*

Next Simulation: vs. St. Louis Blues on Thursday

Be sure to keep an eye out for our Bruins vs. Blues simulation which is set to drop on Thursday.

We aren't the only ones enjoying sports video games to pass the time and get their competitive fix. Even the B's Anton Blidh is enjoying his time off with a little virtual sports action.

Phil Esposito set impressive Bruins goal scoring record on this day in 1971

Phil Esposito set impressive Bruins goal scoring record on this day in 1971

March 31 is a special day in the history books of the Boston Bruins franchise.

Hall of Fame forward Phil Esposito scored his 70th goal (an NHL record at the time) of the 1970-71 season on this day, becoming the first Bruins player to hit that goal-scoring milestone.

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Check out the graphic below for more information:

Esposito's 76 goals in the 1970-71 season still stand as a Bruins record for a single campaign.

Bruins right winger David Pastrnak was making a run at 60 goals earlier this season. The 23-year-old star currently sits at 48 goals with the season suspended due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Pastrnak is tied for the league lead with Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin.

If the 2019-20 season doesn't resume or the league decides to go straight to the Stanley Cup Playoffs upon returning, Pastrnak would be the first Bruins player to win or share the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the league's leading goal scorer since Esposito in 1974-75.