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Bergeron Paces Bruins Once Again

Centerman breaks tie with two third-period goals to lift Boston over Flames

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

BOSTON - There was hardly any surprise in the Bruins' dressing room following the team's 5-2 victory over the Calgary on Tuesday night.

It was not that they weren't impressed by the effort of their longtime alternate captain. It's just what they've come to expect.

For 15 years, Patrice Bergeron has been a consistent, two-way force that the Bruins can depend on in any situation. But this season has been among his very best, as evidenced by the centerman's timely delivery of two third-period goals to break a tie and lift the Bruins over the Flames for their second consecutive win.

"He's been important for how many years he's been here - 15 years or so," said Tuukka Rask, who made 28 saves. "He's a great leader, a great player. When the game's tied, he seems to be the guy who breaks the tie - great job again."

Video: Bergeron speaks to media after two-goal performance

Bergeron, the four-time Selke Trophy winner known more for his defensive game, has scored 30 or more goals three times in his career and 20 or more nine times. But this year the 32-year-old is on pace for the highest offensive output of his career. With 27 games to play, Bergeron is just five goals away from tying his career-high of 32 set in 2015-16.

"He's been doing it for years, so there's no surprise there. Good timing this year. Bergy is hot," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "He's a shooter this year, and it's finding the back of the net, so good for him."

That he is. Bergeron has scored at nearly a goal-per-game pace over the last two months, with 17 goals and 27 points over his last 19 contests, including a four-goal game against Carolina on Jan. 6 and a hat trick in Brooklyn during a win over the Islanders on Jan. 19.

"I'm trying not to think about it," said Bergeron, who leads the Bruins with 27 goals. "I'm trying just to go out there, play, and stay focused…push myself to be better from one night to another and learn and watch video. Whenever it's on the power play, [studying] my positioning and trying to find openings and things like that. To be honest with you, I'm trying to stay focused and be in the moment."

Video: Nash, Bergeron score twice to lead Bruins past Flames

Five of Bergeron's 27 goals have been game-winners, which leads the Bruins and is the fourth highest total in the National Hockey League. The pivot's willingness to shoot more this season - he is on pace for the third highest shot total of his career - could be a contributing factor.

"I'm trying to shoot more. I'm trying to put the puck on net," said Bergeron. "Obviously when you're in a tight game you're trying to make a difference and trying to find a way and our line tried to make something happen. That's what we're on the ice for and we were fortunate enough to get the fourth one. And the power play we always talk about doing the job - that was a great pass from Torey [Krug]."

On Bergeron's first goal of the night - which was the second of four answered goals from the Bruins and proved to be the winner - started with a pinpoint blue line-to-blue line stretch pass from Krug on the man advantage. Bergeron corralled the feed as he skated toward the middle of the ice and was in on a partial break, before ripping a wrister by the blocker of Flames goalie David Rittich just 1:15 into the third to give Boston a 3-2 lead.

"The power-play goal is something we saw in the first period on the entries," Cassidy explained. "They were jamming us at the blue line, so we made a little adjustment, thought we could sneak behind them, and Krug executed a great pass and perfect timing.

"We got in behind them and we were able to capitalize. Bergy, from that area of the ice, he's lights out this year and getting rewarded for hitting the net, first of all, and putting it in a tough spot for the goalie to handle."

Video: CGY@BOS: Bergeron snaps PPG past Rittich early in 3rd

Bergeron grabbed his second of the night with a stellar all-around effort that began in - where else? - the defensive zone. After blocking a Michael Frolik shot with his left skate in front of Rask, Bergeron won the battle for the loose puck and began the breakout by skating it through the neutral zone and dishing to Brad Marchand at the red line.

After some extended zone time, the puck ended up back on Marchand's stick in the high slot, where the winger whipped a shot towards the net. Bergeron was parked just outside the crease and tipped the shot by Rittich to extend Boston's lead to 4-2 with 10:41 to play.

"It was one of those plays where I'm just trying to make myself big and you always try to take care of the D-zone first and then you can think offense, so that was my first instinct on that was try to defend the slot and the shot and get it away from danger," Bergeron said of the blocked shot. "And after that I realized that we had an odd-man rush and obviously after that we were able to sustain some pressure and eventually get the goal, so that was great."

Video: CGY@BOS: Bergeron roofs redirect for second goal

That it was - as has been Bergeron's entire season, though he's not ready to say it's his best quite yet.

"I don't know. It's hard to really compare from one year to another, I think," said Bergeron. "I'm going out there and I'm trying to help my team every night and trying to push myself and be better. I think my linemates and my teammates are pushing me to do that and I need to carry that on."

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