The Boston Bruins were supposed to play the Florida Panthers on Thursday night, but mother nature and the bomb cyclone storm named Grayson had some other ideas. So the Bruins had an extra few days off after the New Year’s break. Such a situation can sometimes make a team a bit sluggish—seen often as teams returned last season from their bye week. Apparently the Bruins really missed playing hockey.
The Carolina Hurricanes arrived in Boston coming off a 4-0 victory over last year’s Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. And on paper the two teams were almost identical in their last ten games, with the Bruins record at 7-1-2 and the Canes at 7-2-1.
It started out like many Bruins’ games—that is to say they were whistled for the first penalty. David Krejci was called for a high stick 2:20 into the opening period. Less than a minute into the penalty kill, Brad Marchand got the puck into the neutral zone and onto the stick of Patrice Bergeron, and it was quickly a 1-0 game from the Bruins’ first shot on net. Two and a half minutes later, with the Hurricanes having gotten four shots on Anton Khudobin who was in net for Boston, Riley Nash put the Bs up 2-0 on their second shot on net, and Carolina’s starting goaltender, Cam Ward, got the hook, replaced by Scott Darling.
Carolina’s woes, though, would not be solved by a goaltender change. And despite getting one goal back, off the stick of Jordan Staal, the Bruins would reclaim their two-goal lead two minutes later, as David Pastrnak—who had been going through a goal-scoring drought—notched his 16th of the season. The scoring didn’t stop there. Jake DeBrusk would make it 4-1 a little more than a minute later. And four minutes after that, Bergeron would get his second of the game and take the Bruins into the first intermission up 5-1 and garnered his 700th NHL point.
The second period saw Bergeron notch his second career hat trick—the first having come January 11, 2011, against the Ottawa Senators—at 5:36 of the middle frame, and the hats rained onto the ice. Bergeron wasn’t done though. Five minutes later he got his fourth goal of the game, giving the Bruins a 7-1 lead.
Patrice Bergeron has scored four goals.
WE REPEAT… Patrice Bergeron has scored FOUR GOALS. pic.twitter.com/LNGAzJZhEG
— NHL (@NHL) January 7, 2018
With the exception of Pastrnak’s goal, and Bergeron’s first, which was a short-handed goal, the other five had come when the teams were playing even strength, five-on-five.
Bergeron said after the game that the last time he could remember getting four goals in a game was when he was sixteen. And while he may have made it look easy, that accuracy comes from countless practice shots.
“It’s just amazing to watch [Bergeron] get a shot off from there.,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said of Bergeron’s first goal. “If you are at Warrior enough, you will see him working on it every morning skate – getting that quick release.”
“Yeah, I’ve taken those shots many, many times,” Bergeron shared. “Obviously, I can’t put a number on it, but it’s something that I work on almost every practice with [Jay Pandolfo], just taking some shots from the slot and you know it was nice to get rewarded I guess.”
Marchand was asked about Bergeron’s accomplishment Saturday night, and put it into perspective as only he can.
“It’s pretty impressive. Anytime you can get four goals in a game, three is impressive so being part of this one and seeing him have the game he had, it’s definitely up there,” Marchand expounded. “But you know, I think the Olympics and winning the Cup and him just being Patrice Bergeron is above that.”
Having gone into the first intermission with a four-goal lead, it was always possible that they could have gotten a bit complacent, but with 40 minutes yet to go in the game, that could have been a recipe for disaster. Instead the team did what they do best—continued with what was working.
“Oh for sure and I think we often say that we have to stay humble and we have to keep playing the right way and be in the moment. You know that’s something that we’ve often said,” Bergeron said about staying focused on the win. “And, you know, if you stay in the moment, you’re going to keep doing the right things and I think we were scoring goals because we’re taking care of details; we’re taking care of the puck. And it starts in our own zone. So, you have to keep that going. If you get away from that, I guess, our identity, I guess, or the way that we like to play, it’s not going to … we’re not going to get the results.”
Some might wonder if there is a moment when the team considers showing mercy to the other team. Just as there is no crying in baseball, there is no mercy in hockey.
“Yeah we don’t want to let up. No team is going to let up on us if they get ahead like that. We don’t have that built into our game, it’s more about playing the right way and continuing to build,” Marchand expressed. “That’s kind of what we’re looking to do in here, is not to worry about other teams. We’re worried about playing our game regardless if we are up by five or down by five. We want to try and play the same way. It’s tough to do sometimes when you’re in a game like that but we did a pretty good job.”
As the clock ticked down to the final seconds of the third, the Bruins did just wait them out. In the end the team in black and gold had ten players with points: Bergeron (5), Marchand (4), Pastrnak (3), Nash (1), David Backes (1), Danton Heinen (1), Krejci (1), Ryan Spooner (1), DeBrusk (1), and Kevan Miller (1).
The Bruins take to the road for Sunday’s game in Pennsylvania against the Pittsburgh Penguins before going into their bye week. They have been playing extremely well, and want to go into that break on a winning streak.