Patrice Bergeron

Bruins' Patrice Bergeron named Selke Trophy finalist, seeking record fifth win

Bruins' Patrice Bergeron named Selke Trophy finalist, seeking record fifth win

Boston Bruins star Patrice Bergeron is again a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, which is awarded annually to the NHL's top defensive forward.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Mark Stone and St. Louis Blues center Ryan O'Reilly are the other two Selke finalists. Stone is hoping to become the first winger to win this award since Jere Lehtinen of the Dallas Stars in 2002-03. All NHL award winners will be revealed June 19.

This is the eighth consecutive season in which the Bruins center has been named a finalist for the Selke Trophy. Bergeron has won the award four times (2012, 2014, 2015, 2017), and a fifth victory would move him ahead of Montreal Canadiens legend Bob Gainey for the most all-time.

Here's a breakdown of Bergeron's notable stats from a team press release:

Bergeron, who served as alternate captain for the Bruins for the 13th straight season in 2018-19 and played in his 1,000th NHL game on February 5 against the New York Islanders, recorded 32 goals and 47 assists for 79 points with 30 penalty minutes and a plus-23 rating in 65 games this year. He ranked sixth in the league in faceoff win percentage (56.6, min. 1,000 faceoffs), second in offensive-zone faceoff percentage (59.7), fifth in power play faceoff wins (162) and 13th in faceoff wins (786). The 33-year-old forward also ranked first on the Bruins in shorthanded goals (4) and was tied with Brad Marchand for shorthanded points (7). He was ranked first overall in the team puck possession metric SAT (shot attempts differential), with a 56.73% (min. 30 games played).

Bergeron and the Bruins resume their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs with Game 4 on Wednesday night. The Leafs lead the series 2-1.

Click here for Bruins-Leafs Game 4 live stream info>>>

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Studnicka readying to start pro career with Bruins organization

Studnicka readying to start pro career with Bruins organization

TORONTO - While the eyes of all Bruins fans will be on the first-round playoff series between the B’s and the Toronto Maple Leafs, there will be something to keep an eye on happening with the Providence Bruins as well.

Top prospect Jack Studnicka officially had his junior hockey career come to an end on Tuesday night when the Niagara Ice Dogs fell to the Oshawa Generals in the OHL playoffs and now the young center will be reporting to Providence for some AHL work with the P-Bruins. Providence begins a playoff series against Charlotte this weekend and will provide an ideal development training ground for Studnicka to sharpen his pro game.

It won’t be the first pro experience for the Studnicka, 20, of course, as he posted five points (one goal, five points) in five games with the P-Bruins last spring when his junior season was over. Studnicka also got some good experience while over in China for Bruins training camp this past fall. Studnicka finished with 34 goals and 83 points in his final junior hockey season split between the Oshawa Generals and the Ice Dogs and had 11 points in 11 games in the junior hockey playoffs prior to his team’s elimination.

Now the 6-foot-2, 175-pound Studnicka will transform his offensive skills and two-way play at center toward the pro game, and he could quickly surpass both Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Trent Frederic as the next big-time center coming up through the B’s talent pipeline. The challenge for him will be to continue getting bigger and stronger as that was the No. 1 thing the B’s were looking at from him at development camp last summer.

“Time will tell. He’s strong, he’s physically strong. I haven’t seen all the [fitness testing] scores yet, but just in kind of watching quickly, he looks good. We’ll see. It will tell when we’re out there on the ice, he handled himself well in the American League [last spring],” said Bruins director of player development Jamie Langenbrunner at development camp that starred Studnicka last summer. “I’m sure he gets pushed [around] once in a while. But his attitude is to come right back at it, so he’s competitive. I think that makes up for some of the pure strength that he’ll continue to grow as he gets older.

“He’s not the most vocal guy in the world. His attitude and the way he plays, he’s a leading scorer, he’s a playmaker, but I saw him on two occasions [in junior hockey] go and get in a fight protecting a teammate. He has it in him. It’s just a natural thing for him. It’s the reason he was named a captain as a young 18-year-old in that league. He leads by example every day.”

There won’t be a rush for Studnicka to come to the NHL before he’s ready, however, after the Bruins traded for big-bodied center Charlie Coyle ahead of the trade deadline.

Instead, they’ll give Studnicka time to develop in the AHL and hope that he gives them a top-six center in training who could spell Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci or Coyle should injuries hit any of those three centers next season.

And if Studnicka instead takes the AHL by storm and forces his way into the NHL picture for Boston sooner than expected? Well, then all the better for a top prospect that seems as if he’s coming along at the right time with both Bergeron and Krejci well into their 30’s in an NHL that’s getting younger and faster. 

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Should Bruce Cassidy be sticking with the Bruins' 'Perfection Line'?

Should Bruce Cassidy be sticking with the Bruins' 'Perfection Line'?

TORONTO – After accounting for one 5-on-5 goal during the first three games of the playoff series against the Maple Leafs, one might be tempted to think about breaking up Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. Certainly they were kept intact headed into the series vs. Toronto based on the offensive damage they inflicted in the recent past, like the five goals and 13 points Pastrnak piled up in last spring’s playoff series.

But this postseason series vs. the Leafs is proving different on a number of coinciding fronts. The Leafs are a year older, mature and battle-hardened to be sure, and the additions of Jake Muzzin and John Tavares have brought experienced, two-way players capable of checking Boston’s top line much more regularly.

Given those developments, it would make all kinds of sense to move Pastrnak down to the Krejci line in place of a mostly quiet Karson Kuhlman, and perhaps elevate Danton Heinen to the trio with No. 63 and No. 37. Perhaps that may happen as soon as midgame tomorrow night at Scotiabank Arena during Game 4, but Bruce Cassidy vowed to keep his top line together to kick things off in an important game down 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

“Yes. It could change quickly. We met with them today and went over a few things and I think they recognize where they’ve left some offense on the table. It hasn’t been much of a line rush, offensive series,” said Cassidy. “It’s been a bit of a battle of two offensive lines playing good defensively where they can’t get it going offensively.

“They need to make more plays from below the goal line, protect pucks, and have more O-zone time. They’re so good reading off each other when it’s a shot/rebound, recovery and then separate and make a play. Most teams come back into their own zone, they have a plan, they practice it and they know where they’re going. Once the puck comes to the net all bets are off, and they’re so good if a team isn’t right on cue then they’ll make a play. I think we need to be a little more of that mentality of second-shot, second-chance opportunities that will break their defense down. If they can do that then I think you’ll see them getting more opportunities.”

Clearly there is a track record with the line given back-to-back 30 goal seasons for each of the three forwards, and given their track record against the Maple Leafs. But it’s also a little scary when you look at the postseason numbers: The Perfection Line has produced a grand total of one goal in the five playoff losses to the Leafs over the last two seasons, courtesy of NBC Sports Boston stats maven Dave Green.

There’s a time when a head coach might be showing too much loyalty to certain players and certain combinations of players and that can cause stagnation for a hockey team when it gets to this point in the year.

It’s also dangerous to be that boom-or-bust with your top players considering that the Bruins are 5-5 in those 10 playoff games against Toronto over the last two seasons and there’s virtually no chance to win if those three are together and not producing.

Perhaps it’s time for Pastrnak to move elsewhere in the lineup and for Cassidy to shake things up with his forwards while forcing Mike Babcock to decide how he’s going to deploy the Tavares line and Jake Muzzin with a diversified attack. It's a way to put the Leafs on the defensive a little bit more as they've been largely dictating how the series has played out, match-ups and all, to this point. 

If the head coach waits too long to do it then it might be too late in the series against a Toronto team that’s clearly better than last season, and — just like the B’s — knows how wide open the Eastern Conference might be with the Tampa Bay Lightning one game away from being eliminated altogether.  

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