Boston Bruins: Patrice Bergeron's 10 Best Highlights Since 2009

Al DanielCorrespondent IIJuly 23, 2011

Boston Bruins: Patrice Bergeron's 10 Best Highlights Since 2009

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    Hard to believe, but Boston Bruins alternate captain Patrice Bergeron will only be 26 when he celebrates his birthday this Sunday, July 24.

    He is more than a full decade younger than his backstop Tim Thomas, yet their profiles in persistence rival one another.

    It’s been two-and-a-half years since something of an aftershock within the first three months of his comeback from another concussion that took an earthquake-like toll on his health. Yet in that time, Bergeron has not taken long to kick an abundance of ice chips over the notion that he might not replenish his original self.

    Rather, he has most recently elevated his standards upon helping the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup in 39 years last month.

    With that, as Bergeron celebrates two special summer occasions at once this weekend, here is a look at some of his top games, plays and achievements dating back to the middle of the 2008-09 season.

Jan. 27, 2009

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    In Bergeron’s first game back in action, more than a month after suffering his second head injury in a freak open-ice collision with future teammate Dennis Seidenberg, the Bruins deleted a pair of one-goal deficits against the visiting Capitals.

    The second equalizer came when Bergeron, who consumed 17:38 worth of ice time, set up Marc Savard for a game-tying power play strike at 14:12 of the second period.

    Bergeron dove from his post on the left point and one-handedly thwarted a Capitals clearing attempt, then sent the puck sliding through a forest of bodies to an unguarded Savard around the inner hash marks.

    That goal ultimately necessitated overtime, wherein David Krejci slugged home his own 5-on-4 goal to give the Bruins a 3-2 win.

April 9, 2009

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    Bergeron opened the scoring with a late first-period tap of a centering feed by Matt Hunwick.

    Two-plus periods later, the starting centerman switched roles to execute his second helper of the night.

    Roughly one month to the date of his Boston debut after being acquired at the trade deadline, Mark Recchi cut the porch of Canadiens goaltender Carey Price and slipped in Bergeron’s cross-ice pass for a 5-4 overtime triumph at TD Garden.

    The winning play was initiated on another scrapbook move when Bergeron approached the Montreal blue line to deck and de-puck Maxim Lapierre.

April 18, 2009

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    TD Garden-goers who can’t kick that craving for a skirmish have been spoiled in recent years by the sight of unlikely hockey fighters.

    First, in December 2007, Pittsburgh Penguins VIP Sidney Crosby chose Boston defenseman Andrew Ference as his dance partner for his first NHL scuffle.

    And then, at the halfway mark of the third period in a 5-1 Game 2 blowout of the Canadiens, Bergeron agreed to a tussle with Josh Gorges (the two men are seen here battling for the puck in Game 3 of the same series).

    Other than the two combatants, the only element more ironic is that the fight was kindled when Bergeron and Gorges became entangled in the referee’s crease before the penalty boxes.

    The fight left Bergeron a goal shy of the Gordie Howe hat trick as he assisted on Chuck Kobasew’s eventual game-clincher at 15:12 of the first period.

Feb. 28, 2010

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    Sure, his tournament stats―one point in the form of an assist and a minus-two rating―were dwarfed by literally all of his skating countrymen. And he was allotted a mere nine shifts and 3:12 minutes of ice time in the title game.

    But Bergeron couldn’t complain about donning a Canadian Olympic jersey and subsequently lacing a gold medal around it when his team bumped Team USA in overtime, 3-2.

March 11, 2010

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    In his second consecutive multi-point game, Bergeron assisted on Recchi’s go-ahead goal in the second period, scored the first dose of insurance less than six minutes later and then put an eye-pleasing cherry on his night and the Bruins’ 5-1 win in Philadelphia.

    Upon dangling through fellow gold medalist Chris Pronger, he found a bevy of open ice to set up Marco Sturm’s goal up front.

April 10, 2010

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    In the final home game of the regular season and with the team still trying to stamp its playoff passport, Bergeron channeled another beloved Bruin, Ray Bourque, in making a unique save (for the historical reference, look up Game 2 of Avalanche-Kings from the 2001 Western Conference Semifinals).

    The Bruins had sculpted a 3-0 lead on the strength of three shorthanded goals within one penalty kill, only to let the Carolina Hurricanes close the gap to within one goal. And all within the second period.

    Less than three minutes into the third, on a delayed penalty to Carolina, a pass by Boston forward Blake Wheeler escaped down the Broadway lane en route to a net vacated by Tuukka Rask.

    But Bergeron, the extra skater in lieu of Rask, hustled into the crease and lassoed the biscuit along the red line with a one-handed swipe.

    Some 16 minutes later, Milan Lucic stuffed an empty net at the other end to finalize a 4-2 win and seal the Bruins’ playoff spot.

Jan. 11, 2011

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    He nimbly converted on Chris Campoli’s botched pass to Mike Fisher up front to break the ice in the fourth minute of the opening frame.

    All the way from behind his own cage, he initiated and finished a two-on-one with Blake Wheeler with 2:50 gone in the second for a 3-0 edge. Then he inadvertently triggered the anticipation of some TD Garden congregants when linemate Brad Marchand’s shot traveled through his vicinity en route to the net.

    No matter. With a 5-0 lead in hand and 5:04 gone in the third period, Bergeron unmistakably stamped his first NHL hat trick with a high-flying, homeward bound wrister from the bottom of the far faceoff circle.

Feb. 3, 2011

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    Each member of the starting trinity in Bergeron, Marchand and Recchi amassed three points to spell the difference in an entertaining 6-3 triumph over Dallas.

    His first of two first-period goals came a mere 80 seconds into the action, on the heels of three fights and Lucic’s icebreaker. And it sent former teammate and fellow 2004 Calder Trophy candidate Andrew Raycroft to the Stars bench.

    It was Bergeron’s seventh multi-point, third multi-goal and third three-point night in less than a month. And he just missed his second hat trick in that span when he collected the remnants of his would-be empty-netter and dished them to Marchand, who buried the shot that finalized the score.

May 21, 2011

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    Before it devolved into a fall-from-ahead 5-3 loss in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Bergeron pitched in two-thirds of an initial 3-0 lead, giving the Bruins five unanswered goals since venturing into the St. Pete Times Forum for Game 3.

    After breaking the ice from within whispering distance of goaltender Dwayne Roloson, Bergeron ended the Tampa Bay starter’s afternoon with 2:02 left in the first period as he stripped Steven Stamkos of the puck in neutral ice and strolled to the circle-top to unleash a shorthanded strike.

    Not bad for a man who missed the first two games of the series after sustaining the mildest of his three concussions in the clinching game of the previous series.

June 15, 2011

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    For the second time in less than a month, Bergeron bolstered the Bruins’ jump to an initial 3-0 advantage in a road playoff game. Once again, he inserted the first goal up front and then nailed his second and the team’s third on a shorthanded break.

    Unlike the aforementioned debacle in Tampa, though, the Bruins buckled down and proceeded to morph this one into a 4-0 victory in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

    With that, Bergeron joined historic company with the likes of Bill Carson, Roy Conacher, Bobby Bauer and Bobby Orr as the only men to have scored a Cup-clinching goal for Boston.

    He also posted a season-best plus-four rating on the night, a stat matched only by the night of his aforementioned hat trick against the Senators.

    Do the math. That rating and that final score can only mean that Bergeron was on the ice for all four Boston goals in the most consequential game of his NHL career up to this point.

    Clutch much?