BOSTON — Patrice Bergeron had one last chance to convince Selke Trophy voters he should take home that hardware this season.
And in a completely meaningless game at TD Garden, the Bruins center produced two fantastic defensive plays that led directly to Boston goals in addition to several others and dished off for three assists in a 4-3 shootout win against Buffalo. Bergeron also scored the lone goal of the post-overtime skills competition.
Bergeron came up short in the league faceoff races, as his 5-for-10 showing against the Sabres put him at 59.3 percent, one tenth of a point behind Chicago’s Jonathan Toews. But he won the plus/minus race at a plus-36 and continued to impress his head coach.
“Well, to me, that was a perfect example of what we’ve been talking about Patrice. And I keep saying this guy shows up every day with a purpose, and if it’s practice, he’ll be the best practice player. If it’s a game, he wants to be the best player in the game, and today was no exception,” said head coach Claude Julien. “It would have been easy for him to throw in the towel like a lot of people do, and just say, ‘I’m just going to go out there and just be OK. I don’t want to get hurt. I want to make sure I’m fresh for the playoffs.’ But he went out there again today, led by example, wanted to be the best player out there, and that’s what you get out of him every day. Not just every game, but every day, and that’s why he’s such a great leader and a great example for any young player that comes into our dressing room because we’ve got a few of those players that are like that, and he’s certainly one of the top ones.”
•Ottawa lost in regulation against New Jersey, Washington beat the New York Rangers and Florida prevailed against Carolina today. So that left the Capitals as the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference and the Bruins’ first-round opponent. The complete schedule for the series will be released Sunday by the NHL.
The Bruins dropped three of their four meetings with the Caps this season.
•With two goals, Tyler Seguin finished on top of the Bruins’ charts in that department with 29 and in points with 67. He’s the youngest Bruins scoring leader in team history. Brad Marchand finished second in goals with 28. Bergeron led the team with 42 assists.
•Julien offered the following update on Adam McQuaid’s status. The blueliner left Thursday’s game in Ottawa because he wasn’t feeling right in his first game back after a head injury from the loss the Washington a week earlier.
“I think his situation — he’s got to feel good. He’s just a little off right now, and as long as he’s a little off, we’re not moving forward with him,” said Julien. “So he might be OK for Thursday, which I anticipate when it’s going to start, but if he’s not, we’ve got some other guys. I think the reason we’ve got that depth was for that reason, that we need players to be able to step in whenever needed. So Johnny [Boychuk]’s looking good right now, and McQuaid right now is day to day, and that could change from one day to the other.”