|Tyler Seguin lets out a celebratory howl after giving the Bruins the win at 3:17 of overtime with his first goal of the series. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)|
Bergeron plays through the pain
Effort includes assist on first goal
WASHINGTON - Patrice Bergeron was not 100 percent for Sunday’s Game 6 against the Capitals. But the Bruins were willing to take a less-than-perfect Bergeron than to be without their most important forward.
Bergeron took two licks in Game 5 - from Alexander Semin in the second period and from Alex Ovechkin in the final frame - that left him with an undisclosed injury. Bergeron skated only three shifts in Saturday’s third period.
But Bergeron was well enough to be in the Game 6 starting lineup alongside Rich Peverley and Brad Marchand. Bergeron said he had decided immediately after the Game 5 loss that he’d dress for Game 6.
“I was playing,’’ Bergeron said.
Bergeron’s injury was severe enough to keep him from taking faceoffs. Bergeron, the Bruins’ best man on the draw, entered with a 55 percent success rate through five games. On Sunday, Peverley took most of the faceoffs.
But there was one draw Peverley couldn’t take for Bergeron. With 1:02 remaining in regulation, the Bruins were called for icing.
Washington rolled out its No. 1 line of Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Marcus Johansson. Marchand and Brian Rolston, both lefthanded-shooting forwards, were on the ice with Bergeron. The draw was on the right side in the defensive zone, where Bergeron usually pulls draws into the corner. Earlier in the third, Ovechkin scored the tying goal after an icing call.
Bergeron wasn’t asked to take the faceoff. But he did anyway, and won it.
“I kind of had to, right? The draw was on that side and Pevs wasn’t out on the ice,’’ Bergeron said. “So yeah, I made the call.’’
At 11:53 a.m., Bergeron entered the visiting dressing room, nearly an hour before most of his teammates arrived. For road games, Bergeron always takes the team bus, arriving approximately 2 1/2 hours before puck drop.
Bergeron’s early arrival indicated he was scheduled for evaluation and treatment. Bergeron did not show up for the pregame soccer game in which he usually participates, but he took the ice for warm-ups.
Bergeron had an assist on the Bruins’ first goal, by Peverley. In 19:41 of ice time, Bergeron had four shots, two hits, two takeaways, and one blocked shot.
“He played well. He competed hard,’’ coach Claude Julien said. “He’s not taking faceoffs because he’s not 100 percent to take faceoffs. But he’s good enough to play through this whole game and play a real solid game. It speaks volumes of this guy. Every time we talk about this player, there’s always something new that comes up that makes him an even greater player. As much as he’s extremely respected in the room, somehow he’s even more today.’’
Whatever you need
Peverley is vital because of his versatility. He can play all three forward positions and has skated on all four lines.
In Game 6, with Bergeron too banged up to take draws, Peverley responded by winning 13 of 24.
It wasn’t the only area of the game Peverley affected. He played 22:36, second among Bruins forwards to David Krejci (23:56). Peverley scored at 5:56 of the first period.
After Peverley won an offensive-zone draw against Backstrom, Bergeron settled the loose puck and fed Andrew Ference at the point.
As Ference wound up, Peverley broke for the high slot to be in position for a deflection. Peverley tipped Ference’s shot past Braden Holtby to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead.
Peverley assisted on Krejci’s power-play goal later in the first, starting the rush with speed through center ice.
“He was an exhausted player,’’ Julien said of Peverley. “But he’s so versatile - killing penalties, power play. With Bergy not taking faceoffs, he was huge for us in the faceoff circle. He plays the point at times. He was a huge player for us because we had to use him in all situations.’’
Shawn Thornton was a healthy scratch for the first time in the series. Jordan Caron, a healthy scratch for the first five games, appeared in his first career playoff game. He landed one shot in 4:56 of ice time.
Thornton had been skating on the fourth line and was scoreless while averaging 7:30 of ice time.
In Game 5, Thornton helped trigger the Bruins’ two-goal rally. He flattened Matt Hendricks, then tried to tangle with John Erskine. On the next shift, Dennis Seidenberg scored the Bruins’ first goal. On the following shift, Marchand netted the goal that tied it at 2-2.
However, Thornton was on the ice for Mike Knuble’s go-ahead goal early in the third period. Thornton couldn’t backcheck hard enough to slow Knuble before the ex-Bruin potted the rebound of a Joel Ward shot.
Thornton was a healthy scratch for seven playoff games last year.
Tuukka Rask was in uniform for the first time this series. Anton Khudobin had served as Tim Thomas’s backup for the first five games. Rask had been practicing while rehabbing his lower abdomen/groin strain. Rask’s last time in uniform was March 3 against the Islanders at TD Garden when he suffered his injury . . . Seidenberg broke a skate blade prior to Jason Chimera’s tying goal in the second period. After colliding with Marchand in the neutral zone, Chimera swung into the offensive zone behind Seidenberg, who couldn’t do anything to hold up his progress . . . Joe Corvo participated in warm-ups but didn’t play. Mike Mottau made his series debut. Corvo was hobbled in Game 5 by a Johansson shot off the right leg. Mottau, paired with Greg Zanon, took 13 shifts for 9:21 of ice time . . . Andrew Bodnarchuk participated in warm-ups for the first time during the series, but was a healthy scratch.