Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron doesn’t drop draws
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org June 18, 2013 9:22PM
2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Three
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron has dominated the faceoff circle in the Stanley Cup Final. Here’s a look at how he’s doing against certain Blackhawks:
Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
Vs. J. Toews 5-10 (50%) 2-6 (33%) 8-10 (80%)
Vs. M. Handzus 13-20 (65%) 4-9 (44%) 8-8 (100%)
Vs. D. Bolland 5-6 (83%) 5-6 (83%) 1-1 (100%)
Vs. M. Kruger 3-3 (100%) 4-6 (67%) 4-5 (80%)
Updated: July 20, 2013 6:51AM
BOSTON — Forget about how well defenseman Zdeno Chara and the rest of the Boston Bruins’ defensive corps are boxing out the Blackhawks or how unflappable and unbeatable Tuukka Rask seems to be in goal.
The most remarkable aspect of the Stanley Cup Final after three games could be what Bruins center Patrice Bergeron is doing and whom he’s doing it against.
Bergeron, a star in his own right, might not want the attention, but the microphones and recorders have sought him out this series because he’s doing things the Hawks can’t — he’s winning faceoffs and scoring on the power play.
“He’s a real special player,” Bruins forward Milan Lucic said Tuesday at TD Garden. “We are definitely lucky to have him. . . . We appreciate what he does for the team.”
What he has done is neutralize Patrick Kane, while beating everyone in the faceoff circle. The Hawks’ failures in the circles have been an issue for some time, but what Bergeron is doing against Jonathan Toews and Michal Handzus (who was acquired for his faceoff expertise) is exceptional.
Bergeron won 24 of 28 faceoffs in Game 3. He was for 8-for-10 against Toews, 8-for-8 against Handzus and 4-for-5 against Marcus Kruger. He won 10 of 13 draws in the defensive zone, negating the Hawks’ chances from the outset.
“Bergeron had one of those nights that you like to have in a career,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Across the board, we’ve been watching the group of centermen here, digesting [the film], dissecting it, knowing we have to be better as well.”
Of course, home ice helps as Hawks center Dave Bolland explained.
“At home, you do get that last advantage to see what’s going on in that draw,” Bolland said. “You get to put your stick down last.
“When you get that, you sort of look and see what they’re doing, you sort of see where their feet are, where their stick is, where their hands are. You’re always looking to see what they’re doing. When you have that last chance to go down, you always have that advantage.”
The problem is that Bergeron fared well at the United Center, too, winning 66 percent in Game 1 (27-for-41) and 56 percent in Game 2.
“He’s one of the top guys in the league,” Quenneville said. “Give him credit for having that night he had [Monday] night. We’re looking at ways that we can at least get it closer to a 50/50 chance for us on most draws.”
Essentially, Bergeron is showing why he’s one of the best two-way forwards in the league. A Canadian Olympian, Bergeron won the Selke Trophy last year and finished second in voting to Toews this year.
Bergeron has bottled up Kane, who had broken out against the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference final. He has kept the puck from Kane’s gifted hands by winning draws and generating opportunities of his own. Bergeron had a team-high seven shots on goal in Game 3 and has two power-play goals this series.
“He’s so dangerous because he does everything right,” Bruins pest and linemate Brad Marchand said. “He’s frustrating to play against for opponents.”