Gold, Silver and Bronze for Bruins
BostonBruins.com - As the Winter Olympics wrapped up in Sochi on Sunday, three Bruins had been awarded medals.
Patrice Bergeron helped Canada win back-to-back gold, as they defeated Sweden 3-0 in Game No. 30 of the 12-day tournament.
Bruins teammate Loui Eriksson had his sights set on gold, but will still be coming back to Boston with the confidence of a silver medal playing for his country.
A day prior, Tuukka Rask had backstopped Finland to the bronze.
The trifecta also comes with Bruins coaching and management involved, as Head Coach Claude Julien spent the past week and a half behind the Team Canada bench, and General Manager Peter Chiarelli kept a close eye on the action with Canada's management team.
The crew they helped put together went undefeated in Sochi, proving dominant with their execution and two final defensive shutout performances en route to gold.
They never trailed in a game during the tournament and only gave up three goals.
In the gold medal game, Bergeron was on the ice to celebrate the final two goals that made it a 3-0 result.
After Jonathan Toews scored on a deflection in the first period, Sidney Crosby took advantage of a forced turnover at the blueline, with Bergeron closeby, and converted on the breakaway. Bergeron was the first to the goal huddle. He played alongside Crosby to end the tournament.
Then, with Canada holding the 2-0 lead, Bergeron's other linemate Chris Kunitz turned a turnover into a shot past Henrik Lundqvist.
Bergeron finished the game with 13:36 in ice time and a plus-2 rating. His line was flying, especially early on when he led Canada with three shots in the first period. Bergeron nearly scored a minute in, off a two-on-one with Crosby. He also hit the post.
The defensive forward was as consistent as ever through Canada's six games. He never dipped under 50-percent in faceoffs and finished the tournament with two assists and a plus-4 rating.
While Eriksson received the silver instead of gold around his neck on Sunday, the winger proved to be a vital part of Team Sweden throughout the tournament. He finished second among Sweden's forwards in total ice-time (114:08), tallying two goals and an assist.
Sweden's top line of Eriksson, Daniel Sedin and Nicklas Backstrom was one of the most cohesive in Sochi, but that took an unexpected hit on Sunday. Backstrom was a late scratch and Sweden was forced to play without him.
They had already powered through the tournament without Henrik Zetterberg, Henrik Sedin and Johan Franzen, with Eriksson being forced into a larger role.
Trailing Canada by just one goal in the second period, the Bruins winger nearly tied it up on a deflection and continued to try and provide traffic in front throughout the game. While Eriksson ripped in his two goals of the tournament with precise shots, he created most of his chances claiming the area right above the blue paint.
Those chances didn't come as easily on Sunday, as he and Sweden couldn't solve Carey Price - who made 24 saves - and the Canadian defense.
"We played great defensive hockey," Crosby told NBC postgame. "We just played as a team all the way through and I think we got better with each game, and that was the most important thing."
Along with Bergeron and Eriksson, Rask is returning to Boston having led Finland with three wins and just one loss (in the shootout to Canada) en route to bronze. He finished the tournament with a 1.73 goals-against average and .938 save percentage, and shut out Team USA in the bronze medal game.
While the tournament didn't pan out as hoped for teammates Zdeno Chara and David Krejci, whose Slovakia and Czech Republic squads didn't make it to the medal round, they still had the opportunity to represent their countries on the world stage.
And now, the focus will turn back to their Bruins, and the final 25-game push to the postseason that awaits.
Bergeron will have the bragging rights, for the meantime, but the Black & Gold would all like to have the bragging rights a bit further down the road.