But on Saturday, St. Patrick's Day, Patrice Bergeron
(a.k.a. Patrick Cleary to his teammates - a play on his full last name of Bergeron-Cleary) sent 17,565 would-be revelers into the streets of Boston celebrating a B's win for the first time since they beat the Buffalo Sabres on March 8th.
Bergeron beat Philadelphia goalie Ilya Bryzgalov with a game-deciding shootout tally, which snapped a four-game Boston losing streak, and put the B's back on top in the Northeast Division (at least temporarily).
"I think it’s a huge statement for us as a team," said Bergeron, who'd been clear about his disappointment during the B's skid. "When we play for the whole game and keep putting pressure, keep working hard and staying with it, and not getting down on ourselves, we always find a way to get on top of ourselves and get the win.
"It’s a huge statement game for us, and we can obviously build from it – it’s only one game."
But that one game displayed all the things so characteristic of Boston Bruins hockey at its best as the Black & Gold got solid goaltending, tenacious defense and plenty of offensive chances throughout the win.
"I think our overall game [was better]," explained Bergeron. "We didn’t think too much out there, we didn’t worry about – we worried about our own job and nothing else.
"We knew – we trusted the guy next to you that he was going to do the same thing and do his job. When you trust each other on the ice like that, then you know it’s a lot easier – makes it a lot better for everyone.
"I think our forecheck was much better, our D zone – everything was a lot better and we found a way."
Bergeron, in particular, found a way to put his his stamp on the contest. The center was on the ice for over 21 minutes, played 26 shifts, took four shots, earned two takaways, blocked two Philadelphia attempts, won 12 of 17 faceoffs and threw in an assist on Tyler Seguin
's goal at 17:07 of the first period.
It was a huge victory for the Bruins, but Bergeron denied feeling any pressure as he prepared for his shootout attempt.
"I didn’t feel it. I like those situations, and it’s the type of situation when you’re playing hockey that’s what you want," he said. "I wanted to obviously win it for the team, and the guys did a great job scoring those two goals before me, so it’s not just me.
"And Timmy [Thomas] with that huge save at the end. It was a huge effort from everyone, and it was great to get that."
And for Boston fans it was great to see the B's bench erupt after Thomas' save on Philadelpia forward Daniel Briere to end the Flyers final bid for two points.
"Oh, it was great. I thought everyone was really emotional, we all wanted to get that extra point. It was a huge point and we found a way," said Bergeron.
After the game, Head Coach Claude Julien praised Bergeron's efforts -- not just today, but day-in-day out.
"To point out just one guy, I’m not sure is fair because he sticks out a little more because of what he brings to the team," said Julien of his alternate captain's play on Saturday. "But Bergy is one of those guys that -- I’ve said that numerous times -- you can never say enough about the player. You can never say enough about the person because he’s great at both.
"He’s a real good team player, good person. You never see a negative thing come out of his mouth, and if he gets mad, he’s mad at himself. He demands a lot, and he expects a lot out of himself. Not only is he a good player, but I don’t know that there’s that may players that take as good of care of themselves off the ice as he does.
"He really cares about his job, and he wants to be the best every day. He comes to practice, and he wants to be the best guy on the ice on practice day; he wants to be the hardest-working guy, and those guys end up getting rewarded for that.
"Those guys...stick out in times of need," added Julien. "You see them bring their ‘A’ game to the table, and they’re always one of the best players on the ice."
Those guys also step up in times of need.
"I know as a leader you need to step up in those occasions and it was one of those things, but I think everyone did and we all need to obviously keep going," said Bergeron. "It’s something to build on, build from and go from there.
"But yeah, I felt very good...and it was a fun game to be a part of."