SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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June 20, 2013

Phil Stacey column: Despite loss, Bergeron proves his worth as an Ultimate Bruin

(Continued)

His second goal of the evening — and sixth in the last seven games, and career-high ninth of the playoffs — was better simply because it tied the contest just 2:05 into the third period. The tally was born from equal parts sheer hard work on the chemistry between linemates. Jaromir Jagr worked the puck down low wall, lost it, got it back and played give-and-go along the wall with Bergeron. On his backhand, Bergeron curled off the half-boards out to the top of right circle and fired, beating Crawford cleanly (what else?) glove side.

Clutch? Webster’s might need to create another definition that includes Bergeron’s credentials and headshot. This is the guy who scored the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup two years ago. The guy who is universally known as one of the best two-way centers on earth. The guy who has come back from four concussions (that we know of) without missing a beat. The guy who leads the NHL in faceoffs won by a healthy margin; the guy who scored the game-tying (in the final minute) and game-winning (in OT) goals to beat Toronto in Game 7 last month; the guy who scored in double-OT to topple Pittsburgh in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals; the guy who provides more intangibles than the ocean has fish.

The guy who is in line for a megabucks payday and a contract that will likely ensure he wears only Black-and-Gold for all of his NHL days.

In a series that is showing the earmarks of one of the all-time great Stanley Cup finals — three OT games in the first four contests give it that instant credibility — Bergeron and his mates will be asked to do even more in Games 5, 6 ... and possibly a Game 7.

Was this a missed opportunity for the Bruins?

“You can’t look at it that way,” said Bergeron. “because now there’s nothing you can do about it. So it’s about the next game.”

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Phil Stacey is the sports editor of The Salem News. Contact him at pstacey@salemnews.com or 978-338-2650, and follow him on Twitter @PhilStacey_SN.

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