Patrice Bergeron hit the 30-goal-mark and the Bruins clinched the Presidents’ Trophy Saturday with a 4-1 win over the Sabres.
The B’s, who sit at 117 points (54-18-9) with one game to play, will finish with the most points in the NHL for the first time since the 1989-90 season.
Bergeron got to 30 goals for the second time in his career when he took a pass from Brad Marchand and sent a one-timer past Matt Hackett to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead in the second period. Bergeron’s other 30-goal season came in 2005-06, when he had 31.
Bergeron left the game after the second period, though he played the first two periods and didn’t look hindered in any way. It’s possible the team was just resting him.
The big scare, however, came in the third period when Daniel Paille left the game in the this period on a big hit at the blue line from Jake McCabe. McCabe was given a game misconduct for the hit (despite it actually looking clean, though slightly high), while Paille — who has already had two concussions this season — was slow to get up.
Gregory Campbell scored his eighth goal of the season when he took a first-period feed from Jordan Caron and tipped it past Hackett to give the B’s a 1-0 lead. David Krejci followed by getting the rebound off a Zdeno Chara shot off the end boards and sending it in for his 24th goal.
The Sabres scored their only goal in the third period, when Cody Hodgson picked up his 20th of the season. Krejci made it 4-1 on a power play with a shot from the point that went off the end boards and hit Connor Knapp‘s skate on its way in.
The B’s will finish their regular-season schedule Sunday in New Jersey.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Jarome Iginla’s 30-goal season is well impressive, but Bergeron hitting 30 goals is the most impressive individual achievement this season from any Bruin. The thirty goal mark is hard to hit in Claude Julien‘s system (Bergeron became the fourth player to do it since Julien came to town in 2007), and he made it tougher on himself by being a responsible player and not cutting any corners for the sake of goals.
An example of that came in the second period before his goal Saturday. About seven minutes into the period, Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith went deep into the offensive zone, with Bergeron staying high. With the puck bouncing around in front moments later, Bergeron stayed high rather than jumping up and giving himself a chance at a goal at the risk of an odd-man rush.
A breakdown of Bergeron’s 30-goal season is as follows: 22 even-strength, seven on the power play, one shorthanded and three empty-net goals.
- Bergeron and Iginla also gave the Bruins their first pair of 30-goal scorers since Julien has been the coach. The last time the B’s had two 30-goal scorers was in the 2002-03, when they had three in Glenn Murray (44), Joe Thornton (36) and Mike Knuble (30).
- The win guaranteed that the Bruins will not lose two straight regulation games this season.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- That would be pretty rough news if Paille were to have suffered a head injury on the hit from McCabe. Though a fourth-line player, Paille makes up one third of the best fourth line in the league and is a player who has been moved up when wings on other lines have been injured. He is also a plus penalty killer and was a very good performer last postseason (four goals and five assists for 13 points in 22 games).
- Another scary scene came in the third period when Torey Krug landed on Hackett, causing Hackett to remain down on the ice in pain for several minutes before leaving in a stretcher.
- The Bruins didn’t need to get into the whole John Scott thing, but it happened twice. Scott went after Lucic in the second period, leading to a scuffle in which Zdeno Chara intervened and cross-checked Scott in the face. Chara and Scott got into it again late in the third period and were given 10-minute misconducts.