The Boston Bruins need Patrice Bergeron, immediately.
The Bruins center has missed the first three games of the 2017-18 season with a lower body injury, and Boston’s 6-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday highlighted how much the B’s miss their veteran leader.
In the past two games against the Avs, the Bruins have been outscored 10-3, have been unable to create scoring opportunities and have struggled on the penalty kill.
Bergeron is the motor that makes the Bruins go. The four-time Frank J. Selke Trophy winner is one of the best two-way centers in the NHL and controls the faceoff circle when he’s on the ice.
The B’s have tried to compensate for Bergeron’s absence early in the season, as head coach Bruce Cassidy has tried out a number of options to fill Bergeron’s skates on the top line. None of the options have paid dividends, as Riley Nash, David Krejci and Ryan Spooner all have taken their turn with the top line, and none have been able to give the B’s the boost they need alongside Brad Marchand.
And Boston never missed Bergeron more than it did Wednesday late in the third period.
Trailing 4-3 with under two minutes to go, the B’s had a faceoff in the offensive zone that Bergeron normally would have taken. But with the center sidelined it was up to Krejci to win the puck.
Avs center Nathan MacKinnon won the faceoff, which led to an empty-net goal for Sven Andrighetto that ended the B’s hopes of coming back.
Bergeron missed the first three games of last season, and still went on to score 21 goals, so there’s no need to panic. But while he is expected to make his season debut soon, it’s clear the Bruins won’t go anywhere this season if Bergeron isn’t on the ice.
Here are some other notes from Bruins-Avalanche:
— While Bergeron is expected to be back sometime this weekend, David Backes (diverticulitis) and Noel Accari (broken finger) likely won’t return until November.
— The B’s were outshot 37-22 in Wednesday’s loss to Colorado.
— Danton Heinen picked up his first career NHL point when he assisted on Tim Schaller’s third-period goal.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images