TAMPA — Late in the first period yesterday, with the Bruins still down just two goals, Brad Marchand’s shot deflected off a Tampa Bay stick to a wide open Patrice Bergeron in the slot.
Bergeron had already scored twice on Dwayne Roloson back in the first period, but this shot ended up in replacement goaltender Mike Smith’s midsection with 6:23 left in regulation.
The veteran center missed his chance for a hat trick and the Bruins went on to lose Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final, 5-3, to the Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum.
“I’d like to see that shot again, “said a frustrated Bergeron after the Bruins let the Lightning rally from 3-0 down for a series-tying victory. “I missed my shot. … I was trying to go low glove and I went too close to his chest. I wasn’t trying to go high, I was trying to go short side. So I missed it.”
Bergeron continued to look like a player that didn’t miss the previous two weeks, before his return Thursday, with a concussion. After a standout two-way performance in Game 3, he scored two goals in a 6:09 span of the opening period to help the Bruins get out to a 3-0 lead.
For the game he finished with four shots on net, a plus-1 rating and a 55-percent success rate (11-for-20) on faceoffs. It’s rewarding for Bergeron that he’s been able to get on track without any hint of rust.
“I worked a lot mentally to be ready, to stay sharp and to make sure that even though I wasn’t playing, in my head I could still work that part of the game. And that’s what I did,” said Bergeron. “It feels good to score. But in the playoffs you try to help, but you want to win. That’s the key. And tonight I’m not satisfied.”
Head coach Claude Julien continues to be impressed by Bergeron.
“Bergie has been good for us. No issues with his game,” said the coach. “That’s the kind of player you rely on game in, game out. And you hope a lot of players take his example, because that’s what we need. And that’s what we didn’t get tonight.”