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The Philadelphia Flyers may not have made a spectacular comeback, but for the second year in a row, they have managed to take out a key Boston Bruin. Last year, it was David Krejci (dislocated wrist); this year, it’s Patrice Bergeron, who suffered what Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli has deemed a “mild concussion” after a clean open-ice hit by Claude Giroux in Boston’s sweeping 5-1 Game 4 victory Friday night.
Bergeron, who missed 72 games during the 2007-2008 season after suffering a grade 3 concussion following an illegal hit by then-Flyer Randy Jones, and another 18 games the following season after being concussed by a hit from now-Bruin Dennis Seidenberg, currently leads the Bruins in playoff points with 12 (2-10-12), but arguably more importantly has won 64.2% of face-offs in the playoffs, including a staggering 89.5% (17 of 19) in Boston’s 5-1 Game 3 victory.
At the moment, there is no timetable on a possible return for Bergeron, who did not return to the ice after being hit by Giroux at the start of the third period. The Bruins, who are no stranger to concussed stars, having lost Marc Savard for most of the past two seasons, have a number of options to fill his spot in the line-up, either placing rookie Tyler Seguin (or even Trent Whitefield or Jordan Caron) at center or have him play left wing and shift Richard Peverley to center, but the best case scenario, and what all Bruins’ fans should be hoping for, is that both the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings force the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks, respectively, to go the distance in the Western Conference semi-finals, as both conference finals must begin simultaneously. Both series currently stand at 3-1, but extending play would allow Bergeron time to play, even if not immediately, in the upcoming Eastern Conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, even if he comes back, the big question will be if the hit has shaken him up again at all. Hopefully, he’s the same Patrice.