When the puck dropped on Friday night for Game 5 against the Ottawa Senators, Patrice Bergeron was making his 100th appearance in a playoff game. If you take a look back on his plethora of playoff performances, you will see why the elite center is widely considered the Boston Bruins’ greatest asset.
Patrice Bergeron – Playoff Stats
Statistics don’t say it all, but they certainly paint an image of Bergeron’s consistency for the Boston Bruins during the postseason. We can start with the fact that Bergeron has recorded at least two points in each of the eight years he has participated in the hunt for the Stanley Cup, including Boston’s current series with the Ottawa Senators. He had a 20-point postseason during Boston’s 2011 championship run, for which Bergeron appeared in 23 games. In total, he has produced 69 points in his 100 playoff appearances to date, including 24 goals and 45 assists.
Bergeron’s career plus-31 rating in the playoffs is very telling of how effective he is. Bergeron isn’t necessarily a big-time scorer but has the reputation of doing the little things right, especially in the defensive zone.
He’s a three-time Frank J. Selke Trophy winner as the best defensive forward in the league throughout the regular season and is nominated for the award again this year. I mean, how many times have we seen Bergeron come off the wall without the puck? His consistency along the walls is likely even higher than the center’s faceoff rating of 58.5 percent throughout his playoff career.
Bergeron has scored five game-winning goals during his playoff career, three of which were in overtime. This includes his Game 7 heroics against the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013, notching in a rebound to complete Boston’s comeback win after being down 4-2 with less than two minutes remaining in the third period.
His first ever game-winning playoff goal came against Montreal in 2004 during his rookie season. After the game, Bruins then-goaltender Andrew Raycroft had plenty of praise:
He’s a 30-year-old in an 18-year-old’s body.
Raycroft’s comment has proved true throughout the now-31-year-old’s career thus far. Bergeron is one of those rare players that has the ability to make those around him better hockey players.
Bergeron has been a member of the Boston Bruins since he was 18 years old and is a fan favorite, making him a likely candidate for the ‘C’ when Zdeno Chara’s contract runs dry at the end of the 2017-18 season. Also contributing to that possibility is the fact that Bergeron is a leader at heart.
Mark Recchi, a three-time Stanley Cup Champion, mentored Bergeron during his three-year stint with the Bruins. The two spent a lot of time together as linemates and even off the ice, according to ESPN. Bergeron spoke highly of his teammate:
His leadership skills have really helped me grow as a person first, and then as a player. You couldn’t ask for anything better.
Known to his teammates and fans as “Bergy,” the Bruins’ alternate captain made a name for himself through Claude Julien’s defense-first system that was showcased during the head coach’s 10-year stretch with the team. Bergeron’s consistency through all three zones is what makes him the best all-around player on the Bruins, and one of the most valuable players in the league season after season.
The Highs and Lows
The stat of 100 playoff appearances is telling on its own. Bergeron has celebrated many victories during his playoff career and has suffered a number of devastating defeats.
Though he won a Stanley Cup in 2011, Bergeron and the Bruins experienced a loss in the Final to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013.
Bergeron was also a part of a devastating Game 7 loss on an overtime goal to Scott Walker of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2009. The season before Boston won its most recent Stanley Cup, Bergeron and the Bruins collapsed after possessing a 3-0 series lead over the Philadelphia Flyers.
Experiencing the vast spectrum of emotions that come with playoff hockey makes Bergeron a more mentally tough player. Not only does he roll with the punches, but he is also driven by the bitter taste of losing the last game of the season.
We’ll see if Bergeron leaves the game with that very same taste on Sunday in Game 6 against Ottawa, as the Bruins fight for their playoff lives once more.