Boston, MA – Patrice Bergeron‘s hat-trick book-ended the Boston Bruins’ 5-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday. On what turned out to be a historic night at TD Garden, the 17,850 in attendance witnessed the Bruins’ captain’s eighth career hatty and David Pastrnak‘s 40th goal of the season, and Linus Ullmark‘s first shutout as a member of the Bruins. But the icing on the cake was that Bergeron’s third goal was also career goal number 400.
“For sure (it’s special to get 400 goals),” Bergeron said. “I knew (I was close), heading into the game. That being said, it is special, and the one thing that is special is I’ve scored all the goals with the Bruins. I think that’s the biggest thing I take out of it. It’s been with one organization and something that doesn’t happen often. I’m proud of that.”
The Bruins also ended their power-play slump at 0-40 before Pastrnak and Taylor Hall struck for one each in the third period on back-to-back power plays just 2:05 a part.
The young Sabres squad controlled play in the first period but Ullmark (37 saves) turned back all 12 Buffalo shots, including two on two power plays.
“I thought we had opportunities to score in the first, and didn’t,” said Buffalo Head Coach Don Granato. “I thought we played real well in the first, and then we didn’t look like ourselves in the second and third at all. I don’t know if it was an energy thing or what it was, but the game slipped away at that point.”
Bergeron’s first goal came at 6:16 of the second period after Sabres goalie Dustin Tokarski‘s scramble in the crease kept two Bruins shots out of goal. Tokarski (27 saves) stopped a Brad Marchand shot from the slot with the tip of his glove. Then he padded away a Jake DeBrusk bid in front before Bergeron swiped in the rebound. Bergeron’s 23rd of the year was unassisted.
The Bruins struck again when Bergeron deposited a DeBrusk feed from behind the goal past Tokarski to make it 2-0 at 12:29. The Sabres challenged Bergeron’s 24rd of the season for Offsides, but the review went Boston’s way, and the goal stood. Buffalo drew a Delay of Game penalty for the unsuccessful challenge.
Pastrnak broke the power play scoreless drought at 2:11 of the third period when he backhanded a Hall pass five-hole on Tokarski to make it 3-0 Bruins. Hall had a little give and go with Marchand at the Sabres’ blue line before finding a streaking Pastrnak as he headed towards the net. It is the second time in three seasons that the 25-year-old Czech has reached the 40-goal plateau.
“I thought we had some good looks tonight,” said Bergeron, on snapping the 0-40 power-play streak. “It was nice to end it, and we can move forward, especially right before playoffs. I think it’s perfect timing.”
Again, the Sabres challenged Offsides. Similarly, they lost the challenge and, this time, drew a Double Minor Delay of Game penalty for their troubles. Hall would make them pay when he banged in a rebound at 4:16 to give Boston a 4-0 lead. The power-play goal was Hall’s 20th. Pastrnak and Bergeron assisted.
The Bruins had a face-off in the Sabres zone with 2:20 remaining. Cassidy sent out the Bergeron line to give the Bruins’ captain a chance at the hat-trick and the milestone goal. It paid off.
“I put them out there for the draw,” said Cassidy. “I said ‘if it doesn’t happen here quick, let’s get off.’ It happened quick, so I’m happy for him.”
Bergeron won the face-off back to Charlie McAvoy on the blue line. McAvoy dished it to Hampus Lindholm, who quickly sent it back to McAvoy. Bergeron had space at the top of the right circle, and McAvoy found him for the goal that added to Bergeron’s legacy.
“On the face-off I fell, I was trying to get back up because we had a play set up,” said Bergeron of the lead up to number 400. “Because I feel I wasn’t particularly open for the play but Charlie (McAvoy) made an amazing pass, a great read on that one. When I got the puck I knew I probably had a little bit of time to get a shot off, a great screen in front, a lot of bodied there in front, and it trickled in.”
“That was great (to get the shutout). There are a lot of emotions obviously, playing your old team. It puts a lot of special feelings towards it,” said Ullmark of getting the first shutout of the season against his former team. “Had to wait a full season, but like I said, I’m focused on what’s to come now. The regular season doesn’t mean anything once you get to the playoffs.”
The Bruins end the regular season against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ONT., at 7:00 pm EST.