Liberec, Czech Republic --
Perhaps owing to some "bus legs" thanks to the busy schedule and the near-two hour drive from Prague to Liberec, Boston Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron
admitted that he wasn't feeling up to par during the first period of the Black & Gold's final exhibition game of the preseason.
|Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron, right, scores past goalkeeper Tomas Vosvrda, center, and Jiri Moravec, left, both of Bili Tigri Liberec during the third period of a preseason NHL hockey game between Boston Bruins and Bili Tygri Liberec in Liberec, Czech Republic, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) |
In fact the centerman even said he was feeling "a little tired."
Two goals, three assists and a 7-1 win later and surely Bergeron was feeling much better as the Bruins prepared to return to Prague via bus with their second win in as many outings in Europe.
Paced by Bergeron's pair of highlight reel semi-breakaway goals, the Bruins dropped an American football touchdown on the Czech Republic's Tygri Liberec and now head into this weekend's NHL regular season openers with the Phoenix Coyotes on a winning note.
The Bruins have also won their last two contests by a score of 12-2.
"I got my legs under me and in the second period I felt a lot better," said Bergeron. "I had a lot of help from my teammates and especially my wingers tonight -- they made things easy for me."
It sounds like it might be the other way around.
Rookie wing Jordan Caron
, who apprenticed under his fellow French Canadian forward during this preseason, netted a goal thanks to his mentor.
"It was great," said Caron of his being able to score a goal in the last preseason game, particularly with cuts to the roster coming soon. "It was a good pass from Bergy [Patrice Bergeron
]...I just shot it and I'm lucky it went in and I'm really lucky I got a goal in the last game."
Caron reiterated that Bergeron had made a huge difference to him during, this, his first full training camp with the Bruins.
"I mean, he helped me a lot," said Caron in a serious tone. "He gave me a lot of tips on and off the ice and has been great to me.
"He really took care of me."
Caron wasn't the only one who felt taken care of on Tuesday night. Even as the B's took care of the Tigers, the Black & Gold were lauded by the full house in Liberec and after demurely answering questions about his five point night, Bergeron talked enthusiastically about the festive mood in Liberec Sports Parc.
"The atmosphere was awesome," he said. "They were going with the white-out there (with most of the buildings fans wearing the white jersey of the local heroes) so that was pretty cool.
"So that was a lot of fun and it was great to be part of it," he said.
Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who this week had made a point to remind the press (and by extension, his players) that there was only one reason they are in Prague ("hockey") was thrilled with what he saw on the ice in Liberec.
"I thought we played pretty strong," he said. "Overall, it was a pretty good game."
Bergeron was the backbone of that strong attack, on both sides of the puck.
"He scored some nice goals and he made some great plays," said Julien. "I think he was solid all around.
"Patrice is really one of those guys who takes this game seriously, and no matter what time of year it is, he wants to be at his best."
And with the Bruins beginning their 2010-11 regular season schedule on Saturday, Bergeron's timing couldn't be better.