Patrice Bergeron Glad to "Get That First One Out of the Way"
DETROIT, MI - As the Bruins skated off the ice at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday night, the scoreboard read 2-0, thanks to Carl Söderberg's first two goals wearing the spoked-B.
But another highlight of the win was the fact that Patrice Bergeron was one of those B's skating off the ice following a postgame huddle in celebration that gave Boston a 3-1 preseason record.
The alternate captain played in his first game back from the injuries he sustained during the Stanley Cup Final - broken rib, torn cartilage, collapsed lung, separated - all which caused him to take a forced 4-5 week rest before even beginning his offseason training.
"Felt pretty good and feeling good now, too, so good to get that first one out of the way and now I can move forward," Bergeron told a handful of reporters, as he stood in the visiting locker room in Detroit.
Bergeron finished with 16:05 in ice time, including 1:43 on the power play, 59 seconds helping the B's kill their three penalties, and taking 19 shifts in the process.
Early in the first period, he made his presence felt, sending an errant elbow towards Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith (Reilly's brother), with the pair squaring up and going helmet to helmet.
It caused Bergeron to be sent to the penalty box for his team's first two PIM of the night, but it came following battling along the boards and in the corner.
He didn't shy away from battling in front of the net, either, crashing the crease on the man-advantage early in the third period, helping cause the havoc that led to Söderberg's second score.
"It was more the corners and battles in front, trying to reach out for pucks and stuff like that," the centerman said, of what he felt his biggest test would be in game action.
"Faceoffs, I've done a couple in practice with the other centers and felt good, so I wasn't necessarily worried about it, so it was more of the battles."
Bergeron was 62 percent on the faceoff dot, winning 13 of his 21 draws. He had an 80-percent winning percentage in the offensive zone. Only Detroit's top-line center Stephen Weiss took more faceoffs (24).
"Actually, felt pretty good," he said, of not being affected in the faceoff circle. Bergeron had to limit his core work in the summer, as the area around his rib healed. There seems to be no rust there, as he continues to work with the training staff to build that strength.
"Overall, I felt good, pretty happy with it."
It also felt good for Bergeron to be finally playing in game situations with his new right winger, Loui Eriksson.
"He’s obviously a very smart player and I don’t need to talk about the chemistry with Marchy because we’ve had that for quite a while now," remarked Bergeron, of his trio, whom the center has predicted will "do great things" on the forecheck.
"I thought the three of us on the forecheck were really good and caused some turnovers. We just need to, I guess finish the plays. I hit the crossbar on one of the plays and a couple other plays in front, the puck was loose but we just couldn’t get it, but still I thought our battle around the net was pretty good."
The line combined for four shots (and a crossbar). Marchand easily looked more comfortable with his usual pivot, and Eriksson was able "to be seen a little bit more," as Coach Julien put it.
The winger was certainly seen when he had a takeaway in the right corner behind the Wings' net during the second period, and immediately ziplined a cross-ice pass to Johnny Boychuk at the point.
"Bergy makes a big difference, he brings something to the line he's with and we got a better idea of that line," said Julien, who made sure to acknowledge that it wasn't just that trio's compete level - that it was a great effort from everyone on the ice in the win.
"Overall, I mean, it’s the first game but we have to keep improving and keep communicating," Bergeron said of the chemistry with his line moving forward. "And things will keep getting better."
And he'll likely be glad to field reporter questions about that development in the future.
But just how happy is he that he doesn't have to answer injury questions anymore?
"It's great," he gave a slight smile. "Obviously, it's in the past. I can move forward and look forward."