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Patrice Bergeron puts forth an actually perfect night in win over Lightning

04.04.17 at 11:22 pm ET
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Patrice Bergeron went 17-for-17 on faceoffs tonight. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Bruins center Patrice Bergeron went a perfect 17-for-17 on faceoffs tonight. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Playing against Bruins center Patrice Bergeron is widely considered one of the most difficult tasks that life in the National Hockey League has to offer. But it proved to be damn near impossible for the visiting Lightning at TD Garden in Tuesday’s 4-0 Bruins win over the Bolts.

In an efficient 23 shifts and 19:06 of time on ice (and down go-to linemate Brad Marchand for the final two periods of the game), Bergeron paced the Bruins with a team-leading six shots on goal, and was credited with a single takeaway in the effort. But it was Bergeron’s work at the faceoff dot, where he’s excelled and built a resume that includes three Selke Trophy wins as the league’s top defensive forward (one shy of tying Bob Gainey for the most in the NHL history), that proved to make a gigantic difference for the Bruins in this contest.

In 17 battles at the dot, Bergeron refused to lose, and finished a perfect 17-for-17 — including eight wins in the defensive zone — for the first truly perfect faceoff night of his NHL career.

In doing so, Bergeron became just the fourth Bruins center to take at least 10 faceoffs in a game and finish the night with a 100 percent success rate. David Krejci accomplished the feat in Apr. 2008 against the Sabres with, and Chris Kelly followed that up with a 100 percent night of his own (also against the Sabres) four years later. Joonas Kemppainen (remember him?) also did it last season in a December head-to-head with the Canucks. All three of those players went 10-for-10 in those games.

But, again, Bergeron won a staggering 17 drops and didn’t lose a single one. It’s actually the most faceoffs won in a single game without losing one since the Sabres’ Curtis Brown went 19-for-19 in an Oct. 2001 game against the Thrashers.

The 31-year-old Bergeron leads the NHL in faceoff wins (1,068) and faceoff percentage (59.8%) this season.

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