TAMPA — If anyone was going to be cheered on the road for a career achievement, it was Patrice Bergeron.
In the Bruins’ 5-3 win over the Lightning on Monday night at Amalie Arena, the captain earned his 1,000th career point with a secondary assist on Brad Marchand’s goal at 15:08 of the second period.
The sequence that put the Bruins ahead 4-1 started when Bergeron gained the zone with a slick delay move. It ended when Marchand grabbed the rebound of a deflected Jake DeBrusk shot, settled the puck, and while unmarked by the Lightning in front, roofed it upstairs past Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Marchand said he replayed the sequence in his head, ensuring Bergeron would be given the assist. Confirmed. He began pointing at Bergeron, who was standing at the far post. The captain was mobbed, at first by Marchand, DeBrusk and defensemen Brandon Carlo and Hampus Lindholm. Then the whole visitors bench emptied, surrounding their leader and bouncing in place until only DeBrusk and Marchand remained.
“The most special moment was celebrating with the guys,” Bergeron said. “Something I’ll remember for a long time.”
Bergeron said he knew Monday’s achievement could be part of his comeback season, as he mulled the possibility of a 19th year in Black and Gold. While he wants another Stanley Cup, this was a memorable night for everyone involved.
“Definitely one of my career highlights and favorite moments,” said Marchand, who came up with the idea for everyone to roll over the boards. “You know it’s a huge moment when time stops in a game like that. He deserves that moment.”
The trio skated to the bench, where the coaches, trainers and equipment staff raced over to pat Bergeron on the back. Bergeron, in the midst of receiving more hugs from his teammates, saluted a sellout Tampa crowd of 19,092 that gave him a loud ovation.
“I’m thrilled for him,” Nick Foligno said. “A thousand points, let alone a thousand games, and he’s done every one the right way. He’s somebody any guy in the league has admired from afar. I’ve come to learn how professional, how good of a person he is.”
The healthy contingent of Spoked-B supporters chanted “Bergy, Bergy,” though few in Lightning blue appeared to join in.
Bergeron became the fourth Bruin to reach 1,000 points, joining Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012). Informed of that, he smiled and said it was “great.” Foligno said Bergeron was also returning “thank yous,” as his teammates were jumping on him on the ice.
Bergeron wasn’t the only veteran Bruin who shined Monday.
Foligno, who took four stitches in his chin at the morning skate thanks to a Hampus Lindholm slapper, sparked the Bruins in the second period by diving across the crease for a loose puck and knocking it past Vasilevskiy, giving the Bruins the lead.
After the Lightning scored first, on a Nick Paul strike from the slot at 8:57 of the first period, David Krejci evened the score at 15:36 on a preposterous goal against Vasilevskiy, the annual Vezina Trophy candidate.
Krejci, one of the only players in the league who regularly uses a slap shot, took a long outlet from Charlie McAvoy, chugged over the blue line, and unleashed a 45-footer that sailed over Vasilevskiy’s blocker, far side. The NHL tracked the puck at 89 mph.
On the bench, Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper was shown grimacing. His ace doesn’t usually allow goals like that.
Foligno’s was the first of two second-period goals in a span of 31 seconds. By the end of 40 minutes, Charlie Coyle and then Marchand scored to extend the lead to 4-1.
David Pastrnak (power play setup from DeBrusk) and Tampa Bay’s Rudolfs Balcers traded goals in the opening 4:02 of the third. Paul then cut the deficit to two with a power-play one-timer from the right circle at 10:38, his second goal finishing the scoring.
The first period was Tampa Bay’s best of the season, assistant coach Rob Zettler said between periods. It might have been Boston’s worst. It was perhaps a minor miracle that the Bruins exited the frame tied at 1.
The Lightning (11-7-1) looked like the league-leading Bruins (17-2-0) have through an 11-0-0 start at TD Garden. Tampa Bay hemmed in the visitors, racking up a 9-0 shots advantage in the first eight minutes, and 14-7 for the first period.
But the Bruins, who won their eighth in a row, flipped the script on a Lightning team that came in winners of four straight. They outshot the home squad, 14-7, in the second period after a rough-looking opening 20.
“We knew they were going to come hard,” Bergeron said. “We get out of that first 1-1, and that was the message: it’s a 1-1 game and we haven’t been close to what we can be. The second period showed how we can play.”
The second period was far more memorable — not only for the turnaround. Bergeron’s achievement will be celebrated for some time.
Bergeron became the 94th NHLer to reach 1,000 points, the first since Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom last March.
Bergeron’s Hall of Fame credentials are sparkling. He will surely be the last Bruin to wear No. 37.
The fact that Bergeron is likely to wind up as the Bruins’ third-leading scorer — for a franchise that turns 100 years old in 2024 — while playing so well away from the puck, is remarkable. It is one of the crowning feats of one of the most decorated players of his era.
“If he had any kind of cheat in his game,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said, “he might have 1,200 points, or 1,300 points. He’s just so dedicated to playing the game the right way.”
Matt Porter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyports.