Patrice Bergeron was happier that the Boston Bruins ended their losing streak than he was about reaching a personal milestone.Bergeron opened the scoring with his 200th goal, then added two assists in Boston’s four-goal second period and the Bruins snapped a season-high six-game losing streak with a 6-2 rout of the slumping Blackhawks on Sunday.Reilly Smith had a goal and assist for the Bruins, who were 0-4-2 during the slide, their longest winless stretch since 2010. Loui Eriksson, Milan Lucic, Gregory Campbell and Dougie Hamilton also scored for Boston, which pulled away in the finale of a five-game road trip.
”It was nice to see us stay focused no matter what, and just be strong mentally and find a way to keep pushing the pace,” Bergeron said.
And the Bruins’ slide – which has put them in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007 – is over.
”It was definitely a tough situation,” Bergeron said. ”It was a little harder this time around. Hopefully we can build from what we’ve done today.”
The 29-year-old Bergeron said he wasn’t aware of scoring his 200th until he was told on the bench after he scored at 3:00 of the first period.
”I never thought, starting as an 18 year old, I was going to score 200,” he said.
Bruins coach Claude Julien liked what he saw, as the Bruins quickly nipped a comeback early in the second and then took charge.Boston’s Tuukka Rask made 26 saves and coasted to the win, but he took two penalties late in the first period that allowed the Hawks to trim a 2-0 Boston lead to 2-1.
”We could easily have been flustered and stressed and it could have gone the other way, but our guys did a great job of staying with it and going back and executing,” Julien said.
Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell scored for the Blackhawks, who have lost three straight (0-2-1) for the first time since last March. The six goals matched a season high and the four against the Blackhawks in the second set a season mark for a period.
”It goes without saying that we need to be better, and what level we need to get to as a group,” Toews said. ”Every single guy needs to look at himself.We’re not going to let these last couple games snowball in the wrong direction for us.”
Corey Crawford was pulled midway through the second after allowing four goals on 14 shots. Antti Raanta finished and stopped 14 of 16 shots.
”It was 4-1, we weren’t happy, there’s a lot of hockey left,”Joel Quenneville said. ”You could argue with some of the goals that went in.”
The Blackhawks played most of the game with just five defensemen after Johnny Oduya left the game in the first period after being hit along the boards by Lucic.Bergeron opened the scoring from the edge of the crease when he tapped in Smith’s cross-ice pass. Eriksson made it 2-0 during a power play at 14:03 of the first on a tip-in of Torey Krug’s drive from the left circle.But Rask got himself and the Bruins in trouble briefly as the period ended.The Boston goalie was assessed a delay of game penalty when he ventured outside the trapezoid area behind the net to play the puck with 8 seconds left in the first.Toews’ power-play tip-in directly from the ensuing faceoff – with 1.4 seconds left in the period – cut it to 2-1.When Rask smashed his goal stick in anger against the left post, he also clipped Kris Versteeg. The goalie was whistled for slashing on the play, but the Bruins killed off the penalty.Boston took charge of the game in the second, connecting four times against the listless Hawks.Lucic gave Boston a 3-1 lead at 6:18. He had difficulty controlling David Pastrnak’s centering pass, but Lucic kept plowing through traffic down the slot and eventually muscled the puck past Crawford.Campbell made it 4-1 at 12:19 of the second on a shot through traffic from about 30 feet in the slot. Raanta took over in net after the score.Hamilton increased Boston’s lead to 5-1 from the faceoff with 2:33 left in the period when his drive clanked in off the right post for a power-play score. Smith then beat Raanta from the right circle with 3.1 seconds left in the period.Bickell had the only goal in the third, a tip-in with 5:42 left, to complete the scoring.
NOTES—Boston center David Krejci missed the game with a lower-body injury, suffered in a 5-1 loss at St. Louis on Friday, but accompanied the team to Chicago….The Blackhawks inserted D David Rundblad into the lineup in place of D Kyle Kumiskey, who skated in the past four games following his recall from AHL Rockford. F Ben Smith and D Tim Erixon also were healthy scratches for the Hawks.