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Bergeron 'feeling better,' could play Game 2 for Bruins against Panthers

Center missed victory in opener because of illness going around team

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Patrice Bergeron could play for the Boston Bruins in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Florida Panthers. 

"He's feeling better," Montgomery said. "He's questionable for tomorrow."

The Bruins captain missed Boston's 3-1 win in Game 1 on Monday because of an illness that has swept through the team's dressing room in recent days. He was replaced as the top-line center by Pavel Zacha.

Game 2 of the series is Wednesday at TD Garden (7:30 p.m. ET; ESPN, CBC, TVAS, SNO, SNE, SNP, NESN, BSFL). 

"And it's been probably 10 days to two weeks it's been going around," Montgomery said about the illness. "It's just, unfortunately, someone else gets it when someone else we thought is done with it. … We've had guys, like (Jakub) Lauko lost eight pounds when he had it. It's that recovery strength."


[RELATED: Complete Bruins vs. Panthers series coverage]


Forward Jake DeBrusk said Bergeron had been around the team all day Monday leading up to the game.

"He was watching here in the room. Obviously, such a presence," DeBrusk said. "You could tell how bad he wants to be out there. He can't wait to get back in the mix. … It's one of those things where we want to do it for him. That was a main goal at the start of the year."

Bergeron hasn't played since the first period of the Bruins' final game of the regular season on April 14, and did not take part in their practices Saturday and Sunday. He also did not take part in the Bruins' optional practice at Warrior Ice Arena on Tuesday. 

The 37-year-old, who came back this season after considering retirement in the offseason, was third on the Bruins during the regular season with 58 points (27 goals, 31 assists) in 78 games.

The Bruins set NHL records for wins (65) and points (135) in the regular season, winning the Presidents' Trophy.

With Bergeron out for Game 1, the Bruins used a top line of Zacha at center with Brad Marchand and DeBrusk. They also relied on their depth, honed all season and bolstered by the additions of forwards Tyler Bertuzzi and Garnet Hathaway ahead of the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline, to withstand the absence of their captain.

DeBrusk scored a goal in Game 1, Bertuzzi had two assists and Zacha had one assist.

As defenseman Charlie McAvoy said, "We believe in one another and we believe that whoever it is, they're going to help pull the rope."

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