Healthy or not, here comes Patrice Bergeron
|04.22.12 at 7:54 pm ET|
WASHINGTON — Patrice Bergeron wasn’t 100 percent healthy on Sunday, and it was (we’ll go without the “painfully” pun) obvious.
The best faceoff man in the league during the regular season was unable to take draws on Sunday, and in his place, Rich Peverley handled faceoffs and most of the day at center while Bergeron played wing.
Bergeron was hurt in the third period of Game 5 on Saturday, as he left the game after three third-period shifts. The Bruins didn’t say what his injury was, and Bergeron didn’t prepare as if it would keep him out.
“Ah, no,” Bergeron said when asked whether he doubted he would be able to play on Sunday.
Added Bergeron: “I [knew] was playing yesterday.”
Though Bergeron was banged up and took two offensive zone penalties, he still came through with a big game for the B’s. He assisted on Peverley’s first-period goal and nearly ended the game in overtime before Tyler Seguin got the chance. Just 2:16 into overtime — 1:01 before Seguin’s goal — Bergeron redirected a shot that beat Braden Holtby but hit the crossbar.
Perhaps the defining moment of Bergeron’s game, though, came late in regulation. The Bruins iced the puck with 1:02 left in a 3-3 game. The faceoff was coming in the Bruins’ zone, and a Capitals goal — they had scored earlier in the period off a faceoff win — would have likely ended the series.
To Bergeron’s left? Brad Marchand. To his right? Brian Rolston. No Peverley, no other center out there to take the draw. Rather than trusting the most important faceoff of the season to a winger, Bergeron broke protocol and took the draw. He won.
“Well, I kind of had to right?” Bergeron said when asked if he made the call to take the faceoff. “It was on that side and Pevs was not on the ice.
Finally, he took credit.
“Yeah, I made the call,” he said.
Bergeron will have two days to rest up and get healthy for Game 7 Wednesday at the Garden.