Wednesday Night Hockey: Bruins’ Bergeron a model of consistency

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with the Wednesday Night Hockey matchup between the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

On Tuesday night, Patrice Bergeron played his 1,000th game for the Boston Bruins. How did he celebrate? Well, he managed to find the back of the net twice in a 3-1 win over the New York Islanders.

“Did you really expect anything else? You know like that guy, he just steps up in every situation and you know he’s going to have a big game on a milestone night like tonight,” teammate Brad Marchand said after the game. “It was great to see. He’s one of the top players in the game for a reason. He steps up in big moments and did that again tonight.”

Now in his 15th season, the 33-year-old is as good as he’s ever been. He continues to be a positive example and a leader for his teammates. Bergeron doesn’t only dominate in the offensive zone but he’s been one of the better two-way forwards in the game for a decade.

Since the 2011-12 season, Bergeron has taken home the Selke Trophy four times in seven years. Former Montreal Canadiens forward Bob Gainey is the only other player since 1977-78 to take home that award four times (he did it in four consecutive years).

[WATCH LIVE – COVERAGE BEGINS AT 7 P.M. ET – NBCSN]

He’s managed to accumulate 780 points in his career, he helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011, when he put up 20 points in 23 postseason contests, and he’s won everything there is to win at the international scene with Team Canada (he won gold at the World Championships in 2004 and 2005, and he won Olympic Gold in 2010 and 2014).

As impressive as his career has been, it could have easily not unfolded this way. Bergeron suffered a career-threatening injury after posting back-to-back 70-point seasons (the only two of his career). In October of 2007, Flyers defenseman Randy Jones levelled Bergeron into the boards. Bergeron was knocked unconscious and was taken off the ice on a stretcher. He suffered a broken nose on the play and a grade-three concussion. That could have been it. He played in just 10 games during that season. But thankfully, he managed to make a full comeback.

Since coming back from that injury, he’s found a way to one of the more consistent forwards in the game. If we put the lockout-shortened season aside, he’s picked up at least 19 goals and 52 points in every year since 2009-10. That’s remarkable. How much longer can he keep this up?

“I don’t even know myself,” the Bruins forward said when asked how long he’ll keep playing. “This is all I’ve been doing my whole life and that’s all I’ve been dreaming of, so it would be hard for me to sit here and (say how long I want to play). Right now I’m trying to enjoy the ride and see what happens. With kids and a family now it definitely puts things into perspective and you want to be with them and spend time with them, but that being said, I also love the game.”

He has three years remaining on a contract that pays him $6.875 million per season. He’ll be 36 years old when that deal expires, so there’s a chance that he could sign another contract. Even if his offensive production dries up in the next three years, his hockey IQ is high enough that he could continue playing in a depth role. But that’s still far away.

For now, Bergeron continues to be one of the few go-to forwards on his team’s roster. Despite missing 16 games, he’s still third on the team in scoring with 46 points in 37 games. His 1.24 points-per-game are tops on the Bruins.

If Boston is going to make another run at a Stanley Cup, it’s clear that Bergeron will have to be a big part of it.

Pre-game coverage starts at 7 p.m. ET on NHL Live, hosted by Liam McHugh alongside analysts Mike Milbury, Keith Jones and NHL insider Bob McKenzie. Six-time Emmy Award-winner Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick (play-by-play), U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and Emmy Award-winner Pierre McGuire (‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst) will have the call from Madison Square Garden in New York.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Predators-Avalanche postponed due to water main break

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Friday’s game between the Nashville Predators and the Colorado Avalanche has been postponed because of a water main break that has soaked the downtown arena.

The NHL said the water main break has “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

“We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store.

The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

A makeup date for the  game will be announced later.

Also, a decision on whether to postpone the Predators’ home game against the Columbus Blue Jackets will be made later.

The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue in Nashville for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.

Toronto’s Morgan Rielly placed on long-term injured reserve

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
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TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Morgan Rielly on long-term injured reserve with a knee injury.

Rielly was hurt in a collision with with New York forward Kyle Palmieri early in the third period of Toronto’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Islanders at home.

Rielly has no goals and 16 assists in 20 games this season and is averaging 23 minutes of ice time.

Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said following practice that the 28-year-old Rielly doesn’t need surgery, adding there’s no firm timeline for his return beyond the minimum 24 days and 10 games required for going on long-term injured reserve.

Toronto’s defense is also missing Jake Muzzin with a neck injury and T.J. Brodie with an injured oblique.

Carrier, Pietrangelo rally Golden Knights past Canucks 5-4

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Alex Pietrangelo scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period and had two assists as the Vegas Golden Knights rallied past the Vancouver Canucks 5-4 on Monday night.

William Carrier scored twice and Mark Stone had a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights (15-4-1), who overcame a 4-2 deficit in the third. Reilly Smith also scored, while Jack Eichel and Alec Martinez each had two assists.

Logan Thompson made 25 saves for Vegas, which had a go-ahead goal wiped out in the third but still kept pushing.

“I don’t think that’s really how we drew it up,” Pietrangelo said. “A lot of emotions. Obviously we score and then it gets taken back. But I’ll tell you what, it’s not easy to win on the road and you’ve got to give credit to our group – we were resilient no matter what happened.”

Vancouver (6-10-3) got a goal and an assist from Andrei Kuzmenko. Bo Horvat, Luke Schenn and Elias Pettersson also scored, and Quinn Hughes had two assists.

Thatcher Demko stopped 33 shots for the Canucks, who gave up a multi-goal lead in a loss for the seventh time this season.

“Inexcusable,” defenseman Luke Schenn said.

“That’s nothing to do with systems or what the coaches are telling us. That comes down to battle and compete and, we’re getting outmuscled and outbattled in front of the net and in the blue paint,” he added. “Everyone just needs to be better in front of (Demko) there and that’s where games are won and lost.”

Vegas appeared to take the lead midway through the third period, but the goal was disallowed because of a bizarre bounce.

A clearing attempt by the Canucks hit the lens of a camera sticking through one of the media holes in the glass, knocking a piece of it onto the ice. Play continued at that end and Stone put the puck in the net. But after a video review, the goal was overturned and an official said the whistle should have been blown to stop play.

About four minutes later, Pietrangelo did give the Golden Knights a 5-4 advantage when he collected a puck from Stone and sent a backhand past Demko from the low slot at 14:14.

Vancouver scored three straight goals early in the third to go up 4-2 before Vegas roared back.

“We let them score one, kind of changed the momentum quick and then they scored another one. So I don’t know,” Pettersson said. “We just can’t let that happen. It’s been happening way too many times this season.”

Carrier made it 4-3 with his second of the night at 6:54, sending in a rebound from the top of the crease for his sixth of the season.

“Once they scored one it was like, `Uh oh, here we go again.’ And we’re back on our heels and they came at us, and then they got three,” Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau said.

Smith shoveled a puck into the Vancouver net at 8:57 to tie it.

“We just win some pucks below their goal line and get it to the front of the net and force them to defend an area they haven’t done as good a job as they’d probably like this year there,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We didn’t do a very good job to start a third there, and then it snowballs a little bit. You have a little life and you get a couple more pucks to the net and a second chance.”

ON A ROLL

Horvat drew the Canucks even 1:47 into the third with a wrist shot from the hash marks. Vancouver’s captain has 15 goals, second-most in the NHL behind Connor McDavid (16). … Brock Boeser‘s assist on the first goal of the game extended his point streak to seven games (two goals, six assists).

MARKING MILESTONES

Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault played his 500th regular-season NHL game. Now in his 10th season, the 31-year-old center suited up for Columbus, Tampa Bay and Florida before Vegas selected him in the 2017 expansion draft. … Vancouver defenseman Ethan Bear made his 200th regular-season appearance.

UP NEXT

Golden Knights: Host the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday in the opener of a three-game homestand.

Canucks: Begin a three-game trip Wednesday at Colorado.