TAMPA, Fla. – Patrice Bergeron was Boston's best player in the Bruins' crushing 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Saturday's Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the St. Pete Times Forum.
How good was the veteran center in just his second game back after a two-week layoff with a concussion?
"Bergie has been good for us," said Boston coach Claude Julien, who was reaching for positives after his team blew a 3-0 lead with a second-period meltdown. "That's the kind of player you rely on game in and game out. You hope a lot of players take his example, because that is what we need. We didn't get that tonight."
Saturday afternoon, Bergeron had two of Boston's three first-period goals. He played 18:47 on the day, firing off four shots, finishing a plus-1, delivering two hits and going 11-9 in the faceoff circle, despite the fact that his team lost 60 percent of the 65 faceoffs in Game 4.
Q: What's been the key for you being able to transition right back into this series after the injury?
Bergeron: Like I said before, I prepared mentally to stay ready and stay sharp. Even though, I wasn't playing, in my head I could work that part of the game.
Q: Patrice, do you worry at all about what a loss like this does to the momentum of a series?
Bergeron: No, not at all. All playoffs, momentum changes so many times during a game and during a series, so it is about us going back home and playing our game and realizing that first period is Bruins hockey.
Q: Is there anger after a game like this.
Bergeron: Yeah, you are not happy, obviously. Every game, every win counts. It's frustrating. We didn't play the 40 minutes we wanted and that's why we lost. But, with that being said, it's a long series. We can't feel sorry for ourselves because no one will. We have to make sure we go back to what was giving us the success in the last game and the first period today.
Q: Scoring a couple of goals, does it feel good to get back in the scoring column?
Bergeron: Yeah, it feels good to score. In the playoffs, you are trying to help; but you want to win. That's the main key and tonight I'm not satisfied.
Q: You had a couple of chances in the third, too.
Bergeron: Yeah, I would like to see that shot again. I missed my shot.
Q: Were you trying to go top near-corner there?
Bergeron: I was trying to go low glove and I went to close to his chest. I was trying to go short-side and I missed it.
Q: As a team did they come out different in the faceoff circle or was it losing individual battles?
Bergeron: It was both. It's just us battling. Obviously, they are good on draws, but it's a five-man unit. You have to win those battles.
Q: When you come in here at the end of the second period and its 3-3, do you almost feel like you have survived at that point and start over?
Bergeron: We were disappointed that they came back, but at the same time, it's 0-0 going into the third on the road. That's something that we told ourselves that we were lucky and had to go out there and play a good third, but they still came back stronger than us.
Q: Those two unsuccessful power plays at the start of second; you can talk about building momentum, but it didn’t seem to go that way?
Bergeron: Nope. Obviously they got momentum there, too.
Q: Is there anything you can do now or do you just have to clean the memory bank?
Bergeron: You have to clear the memory, but at same time you have to realize you have to be better and you have to execute. It's not good enough. That being said, we can't feel sorry for ourselves. They are a good team and so are we. It's a long series. We have to make sure we go back to what was given us the success.
Q: Panic, on your heels, just kind of running around. How do you describe the 3:58 of the second period where things crumbled just a little bit?
Bergeron: I think you just said it, we got on our heels and we just stopped playing our game. We stopped forechecking. They were coming up with so Much speed that it was hard to defend. They have a lot of talent and we knew they weren't going to quit. Obviously not the 40 minutes we wanted and that is why we lost.
Q: Do you feel like you didn't settle it down until you got back in the room after the second or out there on the ice in the second period?
Bergeron: No, I thought it was a terrible second (period). We have to be better. With that being said, going into the third we were lucky it was even.