By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
It had been 16 games since Patrice Bergeron last skated in game action for the Boston Bruins, but the veteran pivot didn’t miss a beat, as he scored two goals and totaled four points in Saturday’s 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators.
As if you’d expect anything less of the player aptly nicknamed Perfect Patrice.
In fact, it was on just Bergeron’s sixth shift of the afternoon that he found paydirt, moving in all alone and beating Nashville’s Pekka Rinne off a great feed from Charlie McAvoy.
The Bruins appeared to get on the board with their second goal of the afternoon after Rinne decided to play dead in his crease for five seconds following some slight contact with David Backes. But a (somehow) successful challenge by Preds coach Peter Laviolette wiped that goal off the board. And naturally, it was the Predators that scored the game’s next goal, as Ryan Johansen beat Jaroslav Halak five minutes later for his sixth goal of the year and a 1-1 tie through 40 minutes of play.
But beginning their third period with over a minute of a 5-on-3 advantage, the Bruins found spacing and chances against Rinne, but it was not until the advantage dropped to a 5-on-4 before Bergeron answered with his second goal of the night.
The goal was also the 300th of Bergeron’s career, making him just the sixth player in franchise history to join the 300 club, joining the likes of Cam Neely, Ray Bourque, Rick Middleton, Phil Esposito, and Johnny Bucyk.
Kyle Turris answered on Nashville’s next power-play chance, though, drawing the sides even with 10 minutes and change.
Gifted another power-play opportunity behind a David Pastrnak’s trip behind the Nashville net, though, Brad Marchand needed all of 13 seconds to re-establish Boston’s one-goal edge with his 12th tally of the season.
Pastrnak came through with a goal on a two-on-one sequence with Marchand just 2:46 after the power-play strike, and Sean Kuraly put the Preds to bed with an empty-net goal scored at the 18:01 mark of the third period.
The performance also gave Jaroslav Halak his third straight victory by way of a 28-of-30 effort in net.
The Bruins will have a quick turnaround with a Sunday skate against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh. Tuukka Rask, who has not played since Dec. 16’s loss to the Sabres, is expected to get the start in net for that one. And additional help may be on the way, too, as Jake DeBrusk (concussion, out for last eight games) has a chance to play tomorrow, per Cassidy.