Bruins’ Bergeron Adds to Legacy With 400th NHL Goal

From the very start of his career, it was clear that Patrice Bergeron was going to be a special player. Playing 1,216 NHL games, all coming as a member of the Boston Bruins, Bergeron has lived up to the hype and has far exceeded his status as a second-round draft pick from a very notable 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Patrice Bergeron Boston Bruins
Patrice Bergeron has been the model of integrity throughout his tenure with the Boston Bruins. He would score his 400th career goal against the Buffalo Sabres. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Already sure to have his number retired with the Bruins one day and seemingly a lock for the Hockey Hall of Fame, Bergeron added to his legacy Thursday night when he’d record his eighth career hat-trick to help lift the Bruins over the Buffalo Sabres. While the hat-trick was notable on its own merit, it was the milestone that Bergeron reached as a result of scoring that third goal that really made headlines.

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With his third goal of the game, Bergeron reached the 400-goal mark for his career. In doing so, he became the 105th player in NHL history to score at least 400 goals. He would do so all as a member of the Bruins, too, becoming just the fourth player in team history to score 400 in a Bruins jersey. The other players on that list include Johnny Bucyk (545), Phil Esposito (459) and Rick Middleton (402). That’s a very impressive list of players to be included with and Bergeron is every bit deserving of the status as “peer” alongside those legends.

“It’s a pretty happy room in there,” Bruins’ head coach Bruce Cassidy said following Thursday’s win. “There’s even some Frank Sinatra playing in there if you can believe that.”

Everything fell into place for Bergeron, who despite reaching such an impressive milestone himself, would still give credit to Charlie McAvoy for making a great play to set up the goal.

“On the face-off, I fell. I was trying to get back up ’cause we had a play set up,” said Bergeron. “But Charlie [McAvoy] made an amazing pass, a great read on that one and when I got the puck, I knew I probably had a little bit of time to get a shot off and a great screen in front lot of bodies there and it trickled in.”

What’s interesting about how things unfolded, though, is that Bergeron didn’t have a very big window with which to work and score this goal. The game was already out of reach and there was very little reason to wear the team’s captain down heading into the playoffs.

“It’s funny, I put him out there for the draw and said, listen, if it doesn’t happen here quick, let’s get off….it happened quick,” said Cassidy. “I’m happy for him.” 

Bergeron’s Legacy Will Stand the Test of Time

Sometimes, the stars align and things just work out the way they’re supposed to work out. For Bergeron, hitting the 400-goal milestone all as a member of the Bruins was a special moment for him. Whether or not he scored his 400th goal wouldn’t have affected the way he’d be viewed by fans, media or his peers both in the present day and years down the line. But still, being able to have such a nice round number to potentially close out his regular-season career just felt so poetic.

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Personal accolades certainly matter to players even if they say that they don’t. In the case of Bergeron, though, it’s pretty clear that the end goal of winning a Stanley Cup and doing so for the city of Boston reigns supreme. It’s rare to find a player who is so selfless both on and off the ice; a player who truly encapsulates the captain’s “C” that rests on his chest each and every game. This was true of Bergeron even before he was officially named the team’s captain as he was always one of the true leaders of the team regardless of the letter on his uniform.

Related: 3 Bruins’ Flying Under the Radar Into the Playoffs

While his future may be up in the air right now, Bergeron’s tenure with the Bruins has been an astounding success. A regular playoff contender over the last 15 years (with the exception of two seasons that saw them miss the postseason by one point each time), the Bruins would compete in three Stanley Cup Final series and win one of them during Bergeron’s first 17 seasons. With his 18th season potentially being his last, the Bruins will make one last push for their captain to try and send him out on the highest of notes with hockey’s highest honor.

No matter what happens from now until the end of his career, Bergeron’s legacy will truly stand the test of time. He’ll forever be an icon and a legend in the eyes of the Bruins and their fans.