Tuesday night before 17,565 at TD Garden, the Bruins recorded a 3-2 win over the Senators. Their power line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci, and Nathan Horton netted two of the three goals. Anton Khudobin stopped 45 pucks to nab his second straight win.
All those accomplishments came at a cost.
Midway through the second period, the Bruins lost Patrice Bergeron to an undisclosed injury. Bergeron was injured during a race for the puck in the defensive zone with Colin Greening.
As Greening reached for the puck, the Ottawa forward clipped the left side of Bergeron’s head with his elbow. Bergeron dropped his stick, paused, then skated toward the bench. He walked down the tunnel and never returned.
Bergeron skated only 14 shifts for 9:06 of ice time. He recorded three shots and won seven of nine faceoffs.
Coach Claude Julien declined to disclose the nature of the injury. Julien refused to speculate on how much time Bergeron would miss.
Bergeron has suffered three concussions as an NHLer. He suffered his career-threatening severe concussion on Oct. 27, 2007. He sustained a second concussion when he collided with current teammate Dennis Seidenberg on Dec. 20, 2008. Bergeron’s third concussion took place on May 6, 2011, when he was hit by Claude Giroux.
Bergeron is the team’s best all-around forward, and is one of the club’s three most important players alongside Zdeno Chara and Tuukka Rask.
Bergeron is the Bruins’ leading scorer (10-21—31). He averages 19:14 of ice time per game, tops among team forwards. He’s also the NHL’s best faceoff man, having won 61.5 percent of his draws. Bergeron centers the team’s most consistent line between Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin.
“We all know what kind of guy and what kind of player he is,” Krejci said. “It [stinks]. But I hope it’s nothing serious and he’s going to be back in the lineup really soon.”
Following Bergeron’s injury, Rich Peverley assumed shifts between Marchand and Seguin. Peverley had been centering the No. 3 line between Jay Pandolfo and Jordan Caron.
If Bergeron has to miss any games, the Krejci line will have to assume greater offensive responsibilities. Against the Senators, the power line skated hard and charged toward the net to create its offense.
“I wouldn’t say it was the best hockey we’ve played,” said Krejci (one goal, one assist, 20:09 of ice time). “But it was decent. Sometimes you need some dirty goals.”
For most of March, Krejci and Co. went missing. They didn’t skate hard. They didn’t play with enough passion. Lately, they’ve been committed to approaching the game with a better attitude.
“I think the main thing for the three of us is I think we’ve got our confidence back,” Lucic said. “It’s more of a positive frame of mind. When things weren’t going so well, we were kind of getting down on ourselves and down on each other. It was a lot of negativity between the three of us. We love playing on a line with each other. We know what we’re capable of when we’re at our best. We want to contribute. We want to be a big part of this team. It’s slowly getting to where our game needs to be and where we want it to be.”
The Senators scored first when Greening slipped a backhander past Khudobin at 2:48 of the opening period. But the Bruins responded less than a minute later.
After taking a dish from Lucic, Zdeno Chara set up for a long-distance shot. Krejci broke for the net. He fought off Kyle Turris’s backcheck and tipped Chara’s shot past Robin Lehner (47 saves) at 3:28 of the first to tie the game at 1-1.
Sixty-one seconds later, the Bruins pulled ahead. Seguin stripped Chris Phillips in the Ottawa zone to trigger a give-and-go with Marchand. Seguin took the return pass and beat Lehner at 4:29 to make it a 2-1 game.
At 1:55 of the third, Andre Benoit fired a point shot that slammed off the inside of the net and rocketed back out. Play continued until the next whistle. Video review confirmed that Benoit’s blast crossed the goal line before caroming back out.
The Bruins shrugged off the tying goal. Halfway through the third, Krejci won a puck battle against Benoit against the boards in the offensive zone. He got the puck to Lucic. Lehner turned back Lucic’s point blast. But Horton slipped behind Marc Methot and Guillaume Latendresse to find the loose puck. Before the Senators could collapse on Horton, the right wing had tapped the puck past Lehner at 10:21 for the winning goal.
It was Horton’s fourth straight game with a goal.
“With Nathan, it’s pretty obvious. You just have to watch him play,” Julien said. “When he skates and he’s in it, when he’s engaged, he’s a really good player. That’s what he’s been lately. He’s been really engaged and positive and focused instead of being frustrated.”