The two rookies combined to help Boston beat Montreal 2-1 on Friday night.
Bergeron scored 1:26 into overtime to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference playoff series. The 18-year-old French Canadian has been a part of three of the Bruins' five goals in the series.
``In our dressing room, I don't know if anyone looks at him as a rookie. Both him and Andrew, they have a certain maturity level,'' Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said.
``(Bergeron) has done nothing but impress us all year long. From Day 1, he just raised eyebrows. He really understands the game for a guy his age. For most of us, it takes a couple hundred games to figure it out.''
Two of the NHL's Original Six teams, the Bruins and Canadiens have a long-running animosity that, in its time, was at least the equal of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry that bedevils Boston these days. And this one is almost as one-sided: Montreal has won 23 Stanley Cups to five for Boston, and of the 29 playoff series between them Montreal has won 22, including a first-round ouster two years ago after the Bruins finished the regular season with the conference's best record.
Boston is a similar favorite this year, earning the East's second seed and home-ice advantage for at least the first two rounds. And this time, they're making good use of it.
Raycroft, who shut out the Canadiens 3-0 on Wednesday in his first NHL playoff game, stopped 25 shots in Game 2. Michael Nylander scored Boston's first goal and set up Bergeron for the winner with a nice tap-pass in the neutral zone to sent him toward the net without breaking stride.
Bergeron stick-handled toward the net and made a fake _ or maybe a stumble _ between the circles, then took a screened shot that went off Jose Theodore's glove before trickling into the net.
``He's a 30-year-old in an 18-year-old's body,'' said Raycroft, who is only 23 himself. ``For him to come across the middle like that was a perfect play.''
Jose Theodore made 17 saves, and Patrice Brisebois had the Canadiens' only goal. The series moves to Montreal for Games 3 and 4 on Sunday and Tuesday.
``This was our best effort. We should be proud of ourselves the way we played,'' Montreal forward Alex Kovalev said. ``Now we have the home advantage and if we play like we did, we should be OK.''
Joe Thornton, who did not practice on Thursday because of what the team will only describe as ``an upper body injury,'' played his regular shift but did not figure in any of the scoring. The Bruins suffered a setback when forward Ted Donato broke his foot blocking a shot in the first period; he is expected to miss four weeks.
``We were undermanned,'' Sullivan said. ``The longer it went on, it would have been a challenge for us.''
The Bruins set an NHL record in the regular season with 30 overtime games, and this one headed that way early on.
With Nylander heading to the net, Bergeron crossed a pass to him and he easily beat Theodore 15:22 into the first.
Montreal tied it on some crisp passing in the second period, just 33 seconds after Thornton was sent off for slashing to give the Canadiens a two-man advantage. The goal ended a 95:54 scoreless drought in the series for Montreal.
Montreal had a chance to take the lead with about five minutes left in regulation, but Jan Bulis backhanded the first try over the net while Raycroft was out of position. After a scramble, Bulis had another shot, but he put this one into Raycroft's chest.
|Michael Nylander (2) ASST: Patrice Bergeron (2), Sergei Samsonov (3)|
1 - 0 BOS
|PPG - Patrice Brisebois (1) ASST: Alex Kovalev (1), Saku Koivu (1)|
1 - 1 Tie
|1st OT Period|
|Patrice Bergeron (1) ASST: Michael Nylander (2), Sergei Samsonov (4)|
2 - 1 BOS
|Joe Thornton Tripping|
|Nick Boynton Tripping|
|Brian Rolston Hooking|
|Patrice Brisebois Hooking|
|Sheldon Souray Hooking - Obstruction|
|P.J. Axelsson Holding - Obstruction|
|Saku Koivu Slashing|
|Saku Koivu Cross checking|
|Brian Rolston Holding the stick|
|Joe Thornton Slashing|
|Jan Bulis Hooking|
|Saku Koivu Hi-sticking|
|1st OT Period|