After Saturday’s Game 5 loss, the Bruins’ equipment managers packed up Patrice Bergeron’s gear, indicating the team’s most important forward was traveling to Washington. Just how much the Bruins can expect from him Sunday remains to be seen.
Bergeron was limited to three third-period shifts in Game 5 because of an undisclosed injury. On his second-to-last shift, Bergeron took a pair of heavy licks from Alex Ovechkin, the second at 2:28.
Bergeron remained on the bench instead of retreating to the dressing room, but he didn’t take another shift until 13:53. For that shift, Bergeron lined up as a right wing alongside Benoit Pouliot and Brian Rolston. Bergeron looked sluggish during that shift and did not hit the ice again.
Bergeron finished the game with no shots and zero points in 12:55 of ice time. Chris Kelly and Gregory Campbell took the third-period shifts that Bergeron missed.
In the second period, Bergeron banged his head into the glass after he was hit by Alexander Semin.
“I’m not quite sure whether it was that hit,’’ said coach Claude Julien, referring to the third-period thump Bergeron took from Ovechkin. “Or whether it was the hit that he had earlier that he kind of hit the glass. That’s where I think it started, in my mind. I’m not 100 percent sure on that.’’
The Bruins need Bergeron at 100 percent. He hasn’t found his offensive game (one assist, on Zdeno Chara’s winner in Game 3), but he is vital because of his two-way approach. Bergeron has served primarily as a defensive center against Ovechkin, who has just one goal, and has won 58.7 percent of his faceoffs.
In Game 5, Bergeron centered Brad Marchand and Rich Peverley. It was the team’s most effective line prior to his departure.
Joe Corvo didn’t take another shift after being injured in the second period prior to Semin’s game-opening goal.
Corvo took a Marcus Johansson shot off the right leg. Corvo fell to the ice and dropped his stick. As he struggled to stay upright, play continued. Seconds later, Semin swatted home the rebound of a Dennis Wideman shot.
Corvo needed help limping down the runway. Corvo returned to the bench to start the third, but did not play again. Corvo’s status for Game 6 is unknown.
Julien was upset that referees Tim Peel and Steve Kozari didn’t halt play after Corvo was injured.
Julien referred to Game 4, when Marc Joannette and Brian Pochmara stopped play in the third period after Wideman took a puck in the face and hit the deck. Earlier in Game 4, the referees also blew a play dead after Pouliot clipped Mike Green in the face.
“That was the frustrating part for me,’’ Julien said. “We were in Washington last game, and twice their players go down in their end. We had full control of the puck and the whistle was blown right away with no hesitation. Tonight we’re deciding we’re not. I guess I was a little perturbed. Are there two sets of rules or one? I know they’re different referees, but it’s still the same series. So that was frustrating because they ended up scoring a goal on that.’’
Corvo played only 9:13.
Caron, Mottau out
Jordan Caron and Mike Mottau were the healthy scratches for the fifth straight game. Caron practiced on the third line Friday for the first time in the playoffs. Caron had been the extra forward on the fourth line. “To not consider him would be a mistake,’’ Julien said before the game when asked if putting Caron in would be too much to ask of a young player. “He’s a big body. We know we need something in front of the net. At the same time, the lineup we have right now we know is capable of doing that. If you were just looking at one player, it would be easy to make that tradeoff. But there’s more than one player we need to have their play elevated. It’s more of a team thing than an individual thing at this point.’’ Caron and Mottau could be called upon in Game 6 depending on the status of Bergeron and Corvo.
The Bruins traveled immediately to Washington after Game 5. They had less than 24 hours to prepare for Game 6. The NHL didn’t announce the Game 6 start time until after the conclusion of Friday’s Pittsburgh-Philadelphia match. “We were given a heads-up that it could happen,’’ Julien said of the back-to-back matinees. “We were preparing for that. At the same time, it’s both teams traveling. Same thing for both teams. It’s not an issue here. It’s the card you’re dealt. You deal with it. You don’t make excuses. You find solutions. We were ready for that possibility.’’ . . . Daniel Paille practiced on the second line with Bergeron and Peverley Friday. But Paille played in his usual fourth-line spot alongside Campbell and Shawn Thornton . . . Tyler Seguin started the game on the third line with Kelly and Pouliot. By the end of the game, Seguin was on the first line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci . . . Andrew Ference had a game-high seven shots. He was on the ice for three of Washington’s four goals . . . Adam McQuaid (eye/head) missed his fifth straight game of the series. He will not play in Game 6, either . . . Game 6 will be on Channel 7. NESN will carry Game 7, if necessary, on Wednesday. If the Bruins advance, it will be NESN’s final game of 2011-12. NBC has exclusive rights for the rest of the postseason. NESN will continue pre- and postgame coverage as long as the Bruins remain alive.