Can Patrice Bergeron predict the future?
The Boston Bruins center provided his team with the overtime winner Saturday night against the New York Islanders, giving the B’s a 3-2 victory at Barclays Center to kick off a three-game Metropolitan Division roadtrip.
Shootouts and overtime have not treated the Bruins well this season, with Bergeron’s goal giving Boston its first win after regulation since Nov. 29 against the New York Rangers.
With the Bruins on a 4-on-3 power play during the extra period, Torey Krug gathered the puck in the defensive zone and carried it through the neutral zone, ultimately skating along the left wing boards after gaining the offensive blue line. After reaching the half boards, he found Bergeron in the slot, with the center receiving the pass and winding up a wrister that beat Semyon Varlamov.
Bergeron watched the play develop, and with some admirable foresight pretty much was able to predict the situation he’d be in.
“It was an amazing play by Torey,” Bergeron said after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “I was reading that there was two guys going at (Krug), so I figured if I stayed in that pocket the puck would come, I’d have a little bit of time, and I did. So great play by him.”
Here are some other notes from Saturday’s Bruins-Islanders game:
— The Bruins were listless in the first period — save for their goalie.
While the Bruins offense put up just five shots, the Isles countered with 14, landing some quality chances on Tuukka Rask. Scott Mayfield potted a goal at 4:36 in the period, but otherwise Rask did a fantastic job of keeping the Bruins in the game.
In the second period and beyond, Rask’s job was a tad easier, but that’s not saying much after the first-period firing squad he faced.
“If not for Tuukka in that first 20, you wonder where we’d be,” John Moore eloquently put following the game.
Rask finished with 35 saves as he continued a nice run. He’s 4-0-3 in his last seven games, posting a 2.42 goals against average with a .923 save percentage.
— Moore got on the board with his first goal of the season, and it was a timely one.
With the game locked up at one in the third period, Danton Heinen slid the puck over to Moore at the point. The blueliner uncorked a slapshot that got through some traffic in front of the net and beat Varlamov.
It’s taken Moore north of a month to get his first goal of the season, and after scoring he looked up to the heavens in relief.
“I had a little bit of space and had a lane, Moore said. “They did a really good job at fronting shots, so I just wound up, tried to hit it as hard as I could and it found its way to the back of the net.”
— Matt Grzelcyk left the game in the first period and did not return.
A little over five minutes after puck drop, Derick Brassard’s stick swung and appeared to connect with the third-pairing defenseman’s leg, causing him to go down in pain. Grzelcyk made his way to the bench once the puck was cleared, then ultimately went to the locker room.
During the second period, the Bruins said Grzelcyk was unlikely to return, and following the game it was revealed he had received X-rays but that there was no further update.
— Credit to Brett Ritchie, he responded well after getting healthy scratched.
Ritchie didn’t play Thursday, but it wasn’t really performance based, as Cassidy wanted to get David Backes in during the moms’ trip. That scratch came after a nice performance Tuesday against the Nashville Predators, and Ritchie picked up where he left off once drawing back in Saturday.
Playing on the third line right wing, it was Ritchie who set a quality screen in front of Varlamov on Moore’s goal. He also registered four hits in 11:28 ice time.
Ritchie is not a perfect solution on the third line right wing, but the Bruins certainly can live with it if he continues playing like he has the last two games.
Thumbnail photo via Sarah Stier/USA TODAY Sports Images