SOUTH BEND, Ind. — “Selke, Selke” is a sentiment likely shared by many about Patrice Bergeron.
His goalie has more than a couple of reasons to think so, at least.
Bergeron’s backcheck Tuesday on David Kampf prevented the Blackhawks forward from breaking free and getting a clean look on net while shorthanded and Chicago leading by a goal late in the second period.
As if that wasn’t enough, he turned the tide completely, tying the game on the power play moments later, setting up Sean Kuraly’s late heroics for a 4-2 win in the annual Winter Classic.
“I think those happen to us too often on the power play, some sort of weird bounce that end up being a 2-on-1 or a breakaway,” B’s goalie Tuukka Rask said. “I saw Bergy coming back very hard, and I just try to get my gap right. The guy was coming in on what he thinks is a clear breakaway. ... Bergy made a great play there right as he was shooting.”
It wasn’t the first time this season, though not on such a scale, that Bergeron had made such a play to change a game.
“He did that in Carolina this year, same thing,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said of the four-time Selke Trophy winner as the league’s top defensive forward. “Same thing. He backchecked a shorty while we were on the power play, knocked the puck off a stick, put (Brad Marchand) on a breakaway the other way and scored.”
It was a point in the game when the Bruins needed a spark to get back in it. They’d been hapless on offense for much of the middle frame, alternating lines throughout.
“On that play I see that (David Pastrnak) is starting to cough up the puck so I’m trying to get back right away and catch the guy and make a defensive play,” Bergeron said. “I knew when he went on his backhand he was going to get back to his forehand so I was waiting for him to do that and then just lift up his stick. After that I saw him go for a change, and I think someone broke his stick. . . . It bounced a few times, it wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take it. I thought it was a goal we needed going into the third period.”
It was a play that turned the game around for the Bruins.
“Maybe Tuukka makes the save anyway, maybe we go down and score anyways,” Cassidy said. “But it’s a big uplifting play for us. It’s a teaching moment for our younger guys not to quit on plays.”
Kuraly in clutch
For the second time in two games, Kuraly proved to be the offense the Bruins needed.
Kuraly has rotated around since starting the year as the third-line center. With time on the top line in Buffalo and then back to the fourth line, he was back in a familiar role Tuesday.
He did his job and more.
“Those are the type of goals we have to score, and we’ve been scoring more of,” Kuraly said. “I’ll leave the pretty ones to the guys who score the pretty ones and I’ll take these.”