Bergeron's back, baby

Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron skates during the warms-up before Game 3 of the NHL Eastern...

Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron skates during the warms-up before Game 3 of the NHL Eastern Conference finals against the Lightning in Tampa, Fla., May 19, 2011. (MIKE CARLSON/Reuters)

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:24 AM ET

TAMPA - Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien said repeatedly that centre Patrice Bergeron wouldn’t return from a concussion until he was 100%.

Bergeron, who brings so many things to the party for the Bruins as one of the game’s best two-way players, must have been pretty darn close to that 100% in the Bruins’ 2-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lighting.

He was 64% in the faceoff circle, which featured a game-high 18 wins.

“I felt good. I was confident I was ready,” said Bergeron, who missed the first two games of the series after a hit by Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers in the last game of the Bruins’ sweep in the second round. “The doctors and the trainers were in the same boat. It was time for me to be out there.”

Bergeron’s return pushed Rich Peverley, who had been in his spot between Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi, all the way down to the Bruins fourth line and tough guy Shawn Thornton out of the lineup. With Bergeron back in and the surprising surge by rookie Tyler Seguin, the Bruins have good depth at forward.

“(Bergeron) is very good, not just in both ends of the ice, but in all areas of the arena,” said Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas. “In the faceoff circle, in the corners in both the offensive and in our zone. It’s great to have him back, but the most important thing is his health.”

Bergeron’s presence was noticed by the Lightning.

“He’s great on the draws,” said Tampa’s Vincent Lecavalier. “He’s one of the best all-round players. He’s smart. Coming off a concussion, he played a strong game.”

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/CJ_Stevenson


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