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Bergeron leaves game in third; status unknown

by Shawn P. Roarke /
BOSTON -- There isn't much that can put a damper on a four-game playoff sweep against a despised rival.

But the sight of Patrice Bergeron slowly rising from a huge hit by Philadelphia's Claude Giroux in the third period of Friday night's 5-1 victory against the Flyers at TD Garden is just the sort of thing that toned down the giddiness of Boston gaining entry into the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 1992.

Bergeron made it to the bench under his own power after the hit in the third minute of the third period, but the center went immediately down the runway to the dressing room and was not seen again.

Boston did not have much information about the extent of Bergeron's injury after the game.

"I don't know," coach Claude Julien said. "I have no update for you guys right now. Basically, I can't give you anything more than that."

The players were equally tight-lipped about the status of their No. 2 center, who has been a dynamo this postseason. Bergeron leads the team with 12 points and his 10 assists are second among all players in the tournament, behind only Giroux.

"I didn't see what happened," Boston goalie Tim Thomas said. "I knew he had the puck and I saw him make the pass and I didn't see anyone around him. I don't know if it was a late hit, or just a guy I didn't see. But when I saw him down, of course I was worried."

Bergeron has a history of concussion issues and has twice missed significant time in the wake of concussions.

The score was 1-1 when Bergeron was hit by Giroux, but the Bruins scored just seconds later when Johnny Boychuk slapped home a goal of the ensuing faceoff. Boston added three more goals, including two into an empty net, to finish the rout and the series.

"He's a big part of our team, but I think the guys did a good job keeping things in focus," forward Shawn Thornton said. "The guys have stepped up. (Gregory Campbell) stepped up and did a great job filling in on that line. (Daniel Paille) had a couple of shifts, so I think by committee we did a good job finding a way to win that game."

Chris Kelly also saw a few shifts at the No. 2 center position.

"At that point in game, we're just focusing on playing," Campbell said. "Claude sometimes makes those adjustments -- even if we have everybody. The focus wasn't really on Patrice, it was on getting the job done."

Now, though, as the Bruins wait to find out when the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning begins -- likely sometime next week -- the focus will undoubtedly turn to the availability of Bergeron.

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