Boston 2, New Jersey 1
When: 7:00 PM ET, Thursday, October 20, 2016
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
BOSTON – (Wire Service Report) – It is no secret how important Patrice Bergeron is to the Boston Bruins. In short, he is their best player, in all phases of the game. That is what made it fitting for him to score the winning goal in his first game of the season.
“He does so much for our team … having Bergy back is great,” linemate Brad Marchand said after setting Bergeron up for the winner with 1:15 left Thursday as the Bruins escaped with a 2-1 decision over the New Jersey Devils in Boston’s home opener.
Bergeron, who missed the first three games of the season with a lower-body injury, returned with a bang.
“He brings so many things to the table,” said Marchand, who tied the game with 9:47 remaining by recording his third goal in four games. “We do have a lot of chemistry. Every time I come around the net, I know he’s going to be hovering in that (high slot) area. So it’s good to get back to playing together and get closer to having our full lineup.”
Marchand found Bergeron up high, and Bergeron let a quick wrist shot go, flicking it at the net. Linemate David Pastrnak, covered by defenseman Kyle Quincey, crossed in front of Cory Schneider just as the puck got there, screening the goaltender. Schneider said the puck hit the knob of his stick.
The win was the third in four games for the Bruins, who went 2-1-0 on their opening trip without their most reliable forward. Tuukka Rask stopped 28 shots in the Boston goal.
“I think we’re growing as a team,” said Rask, 3-0-0 with five goals against on the young season. “But I think right off the bat when everybody showed up (for training camp), we looked like we were ready to go, and everybody seemed to have the right mindset.”
Schneider, a local product who played at Boston College, was strong with 34 saves, but he fell to 1-4-2 against his hometown team.
The Devils (1-2-1) knew how close they came to getting a point.
“In this league, getting a point is a good night usually, and for us, you know every point matters when you come down the stretch,” New Jersey left winger Taylor Hall said. “So tonight is a game we’re going to have to improve on, and third periods have to be out best periods because you saw tonight’s Bruins — they turned it up in the third.”
After Bergeron scored, the Bruins had to survive the final 49.9 seconds after David Backes, making his home debut with his new team, took a roughing penalty. The Devils controlled the puck well but couldn’t get it past Rask, who has been sharp early despite playing with some aches and pains that caused him to miss the second game of the trip.
BOSTON – (Wire Service Report – Special to Digital Sports Desk) – The Boston Bruins will be without forward Patrice Bergeron and defensemen Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller for Thursday night’s season opener. General manager Don Sweeney announced Wednesday the three veterans will not travel to Columbus for the Bruins’ game against the Blue Jackets.
Bergeron sustained a lower-body injury and McQuaid an upper-body injury. Both are being evaluated on a day-to-day basis.
Miller underwent surgery to repair a fracture in his left hand on Tuesday. His expected recovery time is six weeks. Bergeron played in 80 games last season, recording scoring 32 goals and 36 assists. McQuaid played in 64 contests, with one goal and eight assists. Miller skated in 71 games, with five goals and 13 assists.
Meanwhile, the Bruins recalled forward Tim Schaller from Providence of the American Hockey League. Schaller joined the team for Wednesday’s practice and will travel to Columbus.
TORONTO – (Wire Service Report – Special to Digital Sports Desk) – Brad Marchand went from just happy to be here to scoring the winning goal in the World Cup of Hockey. Marchand and Boston Bruins teammate Patrice Bergeron scored with less than three minutes left as Team Canada snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by topping Team Europe 2-1 in Game 2 of the final series Thursday in Toronto.
Trailing 1-0 late in the third period, Bergeron scored the equalizer on the power play with 2:53 remaining before Marchand scored the winner shorthanded with 43.1 seconds left.
“Yeah, I think the whole thing has been a bit of a whirlwind,” Marchand said after scoring his fourth goal of the tournament. “When you come into a tournament like this, you’re just trying to take everything in. It’s the biggest stage in the world right now, and to be a part of it is an incredible honor.”
Marchand’s and Bergeron’s center for the tournament, Sidney Crosby, was unanimously voted tournament MVP, becoming the third player to win NHL MVP, the Conn Smyth as playoff MVP, and World Cup MVP. He joins all-time greats Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr.
Crosby, who is the reigning Stanley Cup, World Cup and Olympic champion for another unprecedented trifecta, had three goals and seven assists to go along with a plus-8 rating in the tournament. His line combined for 25 points.
“Everyone wants to be playing for Team Canada,” Crosby said. ” There’s a lot of expectations. We play here, we understand that. But it’s an unbelievable atmosphere to play here at home, to be a hockey player playing for Team Canada and be with this group of guys has been a lot of fun. To be able to win it is special for a lot of reasons, but yeah, it’s just been a great month.”
Zdeno Chara, another Bruins staple, gave Team Europe a 1-0 lead at 6:26 of the first period when he took a feed from Andrej Sekera in the left circle and whipped a shot off Canada goalie Carey Price’s arm and in.
Price made 32 saves.
It looked like that scored would hold up as Team Europe (3-3), made up of players from eight different countries, put a stranglehold on the game that Canada only broke with a late power play.
Anze Kopitar, Europe’s best penalty killer, was called for holding Corey Perry with 3:35 left in the third period.
Canada made him pay, when Bergeron deflected Brent Burns’ shot from the point past Jaroslav Halak (32 saves) to tie the game at 1.
With less than two minutes to play, Europe got a power-play chance when defenseman Drew Doughty high-sticked Tobias Rieder in the Canada defensive zone. But Europe, which did not score a power-play goal the entire tournament, allowed Marchand to take a nifty pass from Jonathan Toews and rip it past Halak.
TORONTO – (Wire Service Report) – Fresh off signing an eight-year, $49 million contract extension with the Boston Bruins, Brad Marchand continued his strong play in the World Cup of Hockey for Team Canada.
Marchand (goal, assist) teamed with linemates Sidney Crosby (two assists) and Patrice Bergeron (goal, assist) to help Team Canada earn a 3-1 win in Game 1 of the best-of-three final series against Team Europe in Toronto on Tuesday.
“They’re good, and they’ve had a good tournament,” Canada coach Mike Babcock said of his top line. “They’ve played real well. They’ve got three elite players on it and all different types of players, but they’ve been really good.”
The extension Marchand signed killed rumors that Crosby’s NHL team, Pittsburgh, would pursue the pesky winger, given his chemistry with the Penguins’ star. The Marchand-Crosby-Bergeron line has been the best in the tournament. Marchand opened the scoring just 2:33 into the game by getting behind the defense after stepping out of the penalty box. The goal was his tournament-high fourth in five games. Steven Stamkos scored his first of the tournament, converting a pass from Ryan Getzlaf on a two-on-one break at 13:20, to give Canada (5-0-0) a 2-0 advantage after the first period.
Tomas Tatar continue his hot streak, scoring his third goal in the past two games, seven minutes into the second period to bring Team Europe (3-2-0) within a goal heading into the third period. However, Marchand, Crosby and Bergeron struck again in the third, with Crosby earning his fourth assist of the tourney on Bergeron’s first goal at 9:24 to provide the insurance.
“I think if you cut the goals out of the videos, there’s an even chance opportunity here for us with Canada, which we’re proud of that effort, and the creation of it, but we’re very frustrated, of course, with what and how we gave up the goals we did,” Team Europe coach Ralph Krueger said.
“Just a little bit too much risk at the wrong times and the power of Canada is that, to take opportunities and jam them into the net.”
Canada goaltender Carey Price made 32 saves while Europe’s Jaroslav Halak made 35 in the losing effort.
Game 2 is Thursday, with Europe needing to win to extend the series to a Game 3 on Saturday.
“Well, we’ve done well with adversity in this month,” Krueger said. “We’ve had a few situations of it, and I think knowing these players, this will give us more fuel for Game 2, and we’ll come out of this stronger.
“Again, we’re here to continue to grow and to learn and evolve, and we’re very angry right now, which is a good thing. But we also are confident with what we felt today, and it makes us that much more frustrated at the moment. I’m sure we’re going to come out fighting very strong in Game 2.”