NEW YORK — Patrice Bergeron was very good in Wednesday’s 4-1 win over Montreal.
He had two assists, including a slick cross-crease dish to set up David Pastrnak. He won 14 of 25 faceoffs. Bergeron logged 17:16 of ice time, including 1:27 on the penalty kill, most of any Black-and-Gold forward.
But there was one statistical oddity. For the first time since Oct. 22, 2016, Bergeron failed to land a single puck on net. He had gone 114 straight games with recording at least one shot on goal.
One night later, Bergeron made sure it was a temporary blip.
Not only did the No. 1 center fire four pucks on goal, three of them slipped past Jaroslav Halak in the Bruins’ 5-2 win over the Islanders at Barclays Center.
Bergeron started his goal-scoring barrage at 13:41 of the first with a five-on-five goal. At 13:49 of the second, after picking up the rebound of a Torey Krug blast, Bergeron pumped a power-play strike past Halak to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead. Bergeron completed the hat trick at 3:45 of the third with a hand from Brad Marchand.
“He’s so consistent,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “I thought he was very good [Wednesday] night. I didn’t realize he didn’t get a shot. He made a tremendous play on Pasta’s goal. You can’t say enough about his ability to contribute every night. You talk about some guys, when they don’t have it offensively, to bring something else.
“But he brings it every night no matter what. It’s nice to see him get rewarded. He’s shooting the puck. They’re all threats on that line. If teams are thinking they’re going to take away Marshy or Pasta, then he gets available. It makes it a nice three-way attack where anybody can score.”
The Bruins did not have their best legs early. They were playing for the second straight night. The Islanders struck first at 7:35 of the opening period after a Brandon Carlo turnover led to a Jordan Eberle goal.
Bergeron completes hat trick
But the Bruins settled into their rhythm, rode Bergeron’s hot stick, and counted on Anton Khudobin to make timely saves. They are now 11-0-4 in their last 15 games.
“He’s a small sample of our whole team,” Krug said of Bergeron. “We produce offense from the defensive side of pucks. We go in on odd-man rushes. We have the ability to make plays because we have high-end players. That’s a perfect example of that.”
On his line, Bergeron’s shot is the least dangerous of the three. It is not a condemnation. It’s just that his wingmen can fire the puck with special skill. When he gets open at the left circle, Pastrnak can bring the hammer down on his one-timer. Marchand’s snap shot, especially when he delivers it off the rush, sizzles off his stick.
“Last game was one of those games where I was trying to find my wingers,” Bergeron said. “You want to get some shots on net. That’s the only way you can really score goals. Tonight was one of those where I was getting the looks again. I was trying to take them.”
While Bergeron’s shot is not as dimensional as those of his linemates, he puts the puck on net with purpose. His best attempt on Thursday, ironically, was an off-wing snapper that sailed wide of the net. The shots that slipped past Halak were not of the smoking variety. But they did the job.
In the first, when Marchand and Bergeron went on the attack, the center did not give Halak any time to slide over to his right to get in front of his shot. In the second, after Adam Pelech blocked Krug’s blast, Bergeron swatted in the rebound before the Islanders’ penalty killers could reset their box. Bergeron’s third, a spin-o-rama through traffic, had eyes.
“When he’s playing the way he is right now, it’s just fun to watch,” Marchand said. “It’s fun to be on the ice with him. You know he’s going to make a play every time he gets the puck. You can’t give him enough credit. He’s an incredible player.”
Marchand sealed the game with an empty-netter at 18:59 of the third. The outcome could have been far tighter.
At 14:24 of the third, John Tavares scored after a Charlie McAvoy turnover to make it a 4-2 game. The Islanders were a hair away from closing to one goal. Brock Nelson slipped behind the defenders to get a breakaway chance on Khudobin. But the backup challenged Nelson’s shot and snatched the forward’s riser with his glove at 17:38. After making the stop, Khudobin punted the puck away.
“The save was good,” Khudobin said. “Two minutes left, and it kept it 4-2, which was important. I don’t know why I did that, to be honest. But I did it.”