NHL: Bergeron, Not Rask, Should Win Conn Smythe If the Bruins Win Cup
"Bergeron! Bergeron! In Game 7, and the Bruins win the series!"
The climactic words of Bruins' radio play-by-play man Dave Goucher on 98.5 The Sports Hub after Patrice Bergeron scored the game-winner in overtime to complete the epic comeback over Toronto should resonate deeply.
The words can be used in each round of the playoffs so far to describe how important No. 37 is to his team.
He's the team's best penalty killer. He's their most clutch goal scorer. He's their best defensive forward.
He should win the Conn Smythe if his team captures the Cup for the second time in three years.
"Bergeron! Bergeron!" could have been screamed in jubilation after he shut down the star forwards of the New York Rangers in the second round. Rick Nash—whom the Rangers acquired to leapfrog to the Stanley Cup Final—only had one goal and two assists in the conference semifinals against the B's, and Bergeron's smothering defense in his own zone is one of the reasons.
Get to the Stanley Cup Final? Bergeron didn't let the Rangers past the second round.
Tuukka Rask is everyone's safe pick to take home the hardware as playoff MVP if the Bruins can win two more games, and it's valid.
Rask—who was the backup during Boston's 2011 Cup run—has been stellar. He leads the league with a 1.64 goals against average and a .946 save percentage. And, oh yeah, he only allowed two goals in four games to the league's highest-scoring team from the regular season, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In Game 1 against Chicago, he made 59 saves. That's spectacular, no doubt.
But make no mistake. While Rask has been great, the defense in front of him has been just as good, and Bergeron sets the tone for all of Claude Julien's forwards.
"Bergeron! Bergeron!" should be screamed by all Bruins fans in appreciation of the 27-year-old's total humiliation of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the Eastern Conference Final.
The two players many consider to be the best in the world didn't register a point in getting swept by Boston.
I'll write that again. They didn't register a point.
Who was the forward tasked to shut down Crosby? "Bergeron!" Bergeron!"
The Bruins' alternate captain has performed on the other end of the ice as well. He scored the game-winning goal in double overtime in Game 3 against Pittsburgh to grab a 3-0 series lead and eliminate any hope for the Penguins.
And through three games of the Stanley Cup Final, he has two of his team's seven goals and has held Jonathan Toews without a point.
Rask has been great. David Krejci leads the team in points. Brad Marchand leads the team in chirps. But Bergeron has been the best player on the ice for Boston this postseason.
The Blackhawks are 0-11 on the power play so far against Boston, and you know the reason why.
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