By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
There’s a reason Patrice Bergeron has won four Frank J. Selke trophies as the NHL’s best defensive forward, and is arguably the best two-way player of his generation. He showed the hockey world why in one little sequence that turned the Winter Classic around for the Bruins.
From the time David Pastrnak turned the puck over to the Blackhawks’ David Kampf, to when Bergeron backhanded a loose puck through Cam Ward to tie the game, Bergeron spent 33 seconds taking over the Winter Classic. Instead of a 2-1 deficit, Bergeron’s late-second-period goal had the B’s knotted up with Chicago entering the third.
First, Bergeron hustled from his own end all the way to the net, where he stick-lifted Kampf just enough to disrupt his shot and eliminate his breakaway shorthanded bid entirely. Then, after regaining his position in the middle of the Bruins power play, the puck bounced off Brent Seabrook’s skate and right to him, and he made the most of his opportunity.
Here’s how Bergeron’s two-play sequence looked on the NBC Sports broadcast:
Very few forwards in the league can make a show-stopping defensive play and quickly follow it up with a clutch goal, and surprise nobody in the process, the way Bergeron did in the Winter Classic. Obviously he was going to snuff out Kampf’s breakaway. Then obviously he was going to swing the game all the way back with a timely score.
Timely would be putting it lightly. The game didn’t feel in control for the Bruins at that point. It all changed after Bergeron’s goal.
This is why he could finish his career with the most Selke trophies in league history.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.