BOSTON (AP) — Welcome back Bergie.
Patrice Bergeron made his season debut for Boston and showed no lingering effects from offseason surgery, finishing with a goal and three assists in the Bruins’ 6-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.
“I was ready to go,” said Bergeron, who missed the first five games of the season while still recovering from surgery on a sports hernia. “You don’t know what to expect obviously. You’re trying to hope for the best, but, you know, I don’t want to say I was surprised because you want to be at your best every time you step on the ice.”
Anders Bjork scored twice, Brad Marchand had a goal and two assists, and David Krejci and David Pastrnak each had a goal and an assist.
After starting the season 2-3, the Bruins were ready to welcome back their top-line center.
“It’s incredible, the way he came back and dominated the game after being out for that long,” said Marchand, who helped set up Bergeron’s goal at 11:53 in the third. “He’s able to calm things down in the room, on the bench, and he leads by example. You know, he just does everything that a top guy does.”
The Bruins scored five straight goals after falling behind 1-0 early in the first period, three of them on a five-minute major and finished 4-for-8 on the power play.
Anton Khudobin made 26 saves for Boston while starting in place of Tuukka Rask, who is out indefinitely with a concussion he suffered in practice Wednesday.
Derek Dorsett, Bo Horvat and Thomas Vanek scored for the Canucks, and Michael Del Zotto had two assists. After falling behind 5-1, Vancouver had cut the deficit to 5-3 by the end of the second period before Bergeron scored on a one-timer off a feed from Pastrnak for a power-play goal at 11:53 in the third.
“Our penalty kill wasn’t great tonight,” Vancouver coach Travis Green said. “Any time you give up four goals on the power play on the road you’re not going to win too many hockey games.”
The Bruins scored three power-play goals in the first after Erik Gudbranson was called for a boarding major for a hit from behind on Frank Vatrano 6:13 into the game. Gudbranson also received a game misconduct and a fighting major when Tim Schaller stepped in for his fallen teammate.
“Schallsy did an awesome job stepping up there,” Marchand said. “The power play did a great job of kind of taking over that game and giving us a big enough cushion that was tough for them to come back from.”
Boston capitalized on the major penalty with three goals. Pastrnak gave Boston its first lead when he took the puck end-to-end and split a pair of Vancouver defenders in front of the net and beat Jacob Markstrom 9:03 into the first. Just after the faceoff, Boston was right back in the Canucks zone and Bjork scored his second of the game on a snap shot from the circle at 9:26 of the first off a setup from Krejci.
Still on the major power play, the Bruins scored again 1:24 later when a long rebound off a shot by Bergeron bounced right to Krejci at the left circle and he knocked in the puck for his first goal of the season.
“It was good that we were able to kind of find our groove again. You know, we were really good last year and we’ve struggled a bit early on here,” Marchand said.
Bergeron got his second assist of the night on Krejci’s goal and added a third at 10:05 of the second period when Marchand’s wrist shot from the right circle beat Anders Nilsson, who replaced Markstrom after the first.
Bergeron also assisted on Bjork’s first goal, which tied it at 1-all 3:29 into the game, and added his first goal of the season with a one-timer from in front at 11:53 of the third to put Boston up 6-3. Pastrnak and Marchand assisted on the goal, which moved Bergeron past Ken Hodge to No. 7 on the Bruins’ scoring list with 675 points.
Nilsson finished with 16 saves on 18 shots. Markstrom was pulled after allowing four goals on 17 shots in the first.
NOTES: Boston was 4 for 8 on the power play. … It was the 900th career game for Bergeron and the 100th for Schaller. … Krejci had a goal and an assist before leaving with an upper-body injury. … Ex-Bruin Loui Eriksson was out for the Canucks with a knee injury. … With Rask sidelined, the Bruins called up goalie Zane McIntyre from Providence of the American Hockey League. … The Bruins also activated right wing David Backes (diverticulitis) and placed center Ryan Spooner on injured reserve with a tear in his right groin. Spooner was hurt last week at Las Vegas and is expected to miss four to six weeks.
The Canucks finish their first set of back-to-back games this season Friday night at Buffalo.
The Bruins continue a four-game homestand Saturday night against Buffalo.
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