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Bruins hope to nail down a winning run

Patrice Bergeron has been on target recently, scoring six goals in his last three games.Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press/FR171450 AP via AP

The Bruins went on a scorching-hot run last January after dressing as Peaky Blinders.

How about doing the same with pink toenails?

Patrice Bergeron didn’t think he was starting a fashion trend when he let his 2-year-old daughter paint his toenails a neon shade of pink over the holiday break. After Bergeron laced up his skates and scored twice in Friday’s 3-0 win at Buffalo, it was fair to wonder if the Bruins would follow suit.

These things have a way of producing magic. Last season’s club won five games in a row after donning old Irish costumes at the Jan. 1, 2019, Winter Classic, amid a second-half run of 22-3-5 that lasted from late December to early March. In the run up to the Stanley Cup Final last season, several Bruins pointed to that Peaky Blinders day, when they rolled into Notre Dame Stadium dressed like tweed-clad gangsters from that BBC TV series, as a surprisingly effective team-bonding experience.

So, did little Victoria Bergeron start a trend?

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“I don’t think you’re going to get everyone to bite on that one,” said her dad’s linemate and close pal, Brad Marchand. “You can pitch it to everyone and see how it holds up.”

Not many takers, particularly among the non-parents.

“You won’t see me doing that,” said gruff winger Chris Wagner, who said he heard Bergeron talking about his new look in the room on Friday.

It might not catch on, but Bergeron’s not alone in acquiescing to the whims of his little girl.

“Oh, yeah,” said Marchand, when asked if his 2-year-old, Sawyer, has slathered his toenails. “She has done it. She likes blue. She’s not scared of pink, but she likes blue.”

David Backes’s 4-year-old, Stella, also has picked up the paint.

“No toes,” Backes noted, “but I may have had a finger or two.”

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Bergeron certainly had the hot hand in Buffalo, polishing off the Sabres with his third two-goal game in a row. The 3-0 win, on two Bergeron strikes, made him the first Bruin since 1988-89 to produce three consecutive multiple-goal games. In Sunday’s rematch against the Buffalonians, Bergeron could become the second Bruin to make it four in a row. In December 1973, Phil Esposito had a four-game run with multiple goals.

Bergeron, who one-timed his first of Friday’s pair from the bumper spot on the power play, extended the Bruins’ longest power-play streak of the year (six games; 7 for 25). The Marchand-Bergeron-David Pastrnak line has combined for 17 points in the last three games. Bergeron (6-0—6) and Marchand (1-4—5) have lit the lamp. Pastrnak, leading the NHL in goals (28), has gone five games without a goal, but has six assists in his last three and has 2-9—11 in his last six outings.

David Pastrnak, the NHL’s leading goal scorer, has not scored in the last five games.Jeffery T. Barnes/Associated Press/FR171450 AP via AP

Krug, McAvoy out

Neither Torey Krug nor Charlie McAvoy was present for the Bruins’ Saturday morning session in Brighton, meaning “day to day” has become a couple of games, at least.

Both blue liners, felled in Monday’s win over Washington, reported for duty in good spirits but weren’t well enough to suit up. McAvoy, smacked against the boards by T.J. Oshie, and Krug (hit by Tom Wilson) are out with upper-body injuries.

Coach Bruce Cassidy said both could skate Sunday or Monday on their own.

For Sunday’s tilt, Cassidy is likely to roll out the same defense pairs he did in Buffalo: Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk and Connor Clifton, and John Moore and Steven Kampfer. That group dealt with a Sabres club that looked as if it was still on holiday, but did more than enough to earn a 3-0 shutout.

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Cassidy was particularly pleased with Clifton, who was physical, scrapped with Sam Reinhart, and was solid as a defender.

“When you lose key guys, sometimes guys come in saying, ‘Tonight’s the night. I’ve got a little more rope. He’s got to play me,’ ” Cassidy said with a laugh.

Sabres forward Sam Reinhart (right) and Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton mixed it up in Friday’s game.jeffrey t. barnes/associated Press/FR171450 AP via AP

Kuhlman on the mend

Karson Kuhlman, cleared for contact but not game action, is likely to report to Providence for a tuneup run once team doctors determine his broken leg has healed. The Bruins don’t yet know when that will be.

Kuhlman, who suffered a non-displaced hairline fracture in his right tibia on Oct. 19, was originally thought to be out at least four weeks.

“Just taking it one day at a time right now,” said the rookie right winger, whose energetic game fit nicely on the second line during his brief run with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk.

“Progressing in the right way,” Kuhlman said. “Just trying to get back 100 percent healthy. We’re going in the right direction.”

Cassidy noted the Bruins could add Kuhlman or Anton Blidh, out since Sept. 26 shoulder surgery, directly to the varsity should more injuries hit the forward corps, or if the staff winds up dissatisfied with the performances of those in the lineup.

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“If we’re short guys here, then who knows, or if we’re unhappy,” Cassidy said. “But I would be surprised if they didn’t go start [in Providence] for at least a little bit.”

No issues for Chara

Chara, who suited up some 96 hours after jaw surgery, checked out fine after Friday’s win. “No issues at all,” Cassidy said. “No repercussions from last night’s game for him. He should be in the clear.” . . . Tuukka Rask, who was strong on Monday against Washington, will be back in the crease on Sunday . . . Par Lindholm and Brett Ritchie were the extra forwards during Saturday’s practice, along with Kuhlman and Blidh. Backes was on the third line with center Charlie Coyle and left wing Anders Bjork.

Only 96 hours after jaw surgery, Zdeno Chara played the full game against the Sabres.Jeffrey t. barnes/associated press/FR171450 AP via AP

Only 96 hours after jaw surgery, Zdeno Chara played the full game against the Sabres.


Follow Matt Porter on Twitter at @mattyports.