Ever since he was drafted in the second round by the Boston Bruins all the way back in 2003, Patrice Bergeron has been a solid producer on both ends of the ice, but this season, he’s taken his game to the next level.
Bergeron is on pace to score 30 goals this year, something he’s only done twice in his 11 year career, and the last time he did it was in 2013-2014, where he finished with a mind-numbing +38 rating. As of now, he has 28 goals, which is second on the team to fellow line mate Brad Marchand, but more on that duo later.
The three time Selke Trophy winner as the games best defensive forward is still doing business as usual in the defensive zone. He consistently has to go up against the top lines of NHL teams, recently including the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals dangerous top lines that feature some of the NHL’s best goal scorers in Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin. Patrick Kane does the same thing, except he doesn’t actually play defense that often. Bergeron should win another Selke this year, which would make it two in a row for him.
Another thing to consider is where exactly this Bruins team would be without #37. Heading into the season, the B’s were projected as a low playoff seed in the Eastern Conference, maybe being a six seed at best. But now Boston is tied for the Atlantic Division lead after knocking off Tampa Bay and the Florida Panthers on back to back nights that both went in to OT. And in last night’s contest, it was Bergeron who won the face-off back to Torey Krug and then saucered a pass to Marchand for the game winner just 10 seconds into overtime to sweep the Florida trip.
Bergeron is the true leader of this team and with all the injuries to the defense, his defensive game has been vitally important. The Bruins score a ton of goals, third most per game in the NHL, and Bergeron leads the team in points. He’s recorded a point in all five of the Bruins games in March, and scored two goals against the Panthers on Monday.
Bergeron is easily the most irreplaceable player on the Bruins, if not the entire league. He can play both the power play and the penalty kill. While on the power play, Bergeron lines up everywhere. He can play the point, in front of the net or in the middle, where he loves to snap off a quick one timer that seems to always find the back of the net. Bergeron paces the Bruins in power play goals with 10, and has 12 power play assists, which is second to Torey Krug, who has 13.
The emergence of Brad Marchand as one of the best goal scorers in the NHL hasn’t hurt either. Marchand and Bergy are top two on the team in points, with Marchand just behind with 54. But Marchand’s success only comes with Bergeron’s passing ability. The two at this moment are the best duo in hockey. Better than Toews and Kane (mostly due to Toews bad year) and better than Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, who have been slumping recently. Meanwhile, Bergeron and Marchand have turned up the heat, as Marchand is riding a four game point streak following up a scorching hot month of February.
Patrice Bergeron is probably the most under appreciated player in the entire NHL, yet everybody seems to love the dude. He should honestly be wearing the “C” on his chest as the captain of the Bruins, but his day will come once Zdeno Chara hangs up the skates. He’s the best two-way player in the entire league, and when a two-way center is on pace to score 35 goals, he’s an MVP candidate for sure. Without Patrice Bergeron, the Bruins are in the running for a top five pick, but because of him, they’re in the hunt for an Atlantic Division title.
Cover Photo via Boston.com