Bergeron at center of Bruins' hot streak

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- It's no secret Patrice Bergeron epitomizes what it means to play for the Boston Bruins.

He's become one of the all-time greats for the storied organization, joining the likes of Bobby Orr, Cam Neely and Ray Bourque. Bergeron secured his legacy in Boston when the Bruins gave him an eight-year, $52 million contract extension last summer, all but guaranteeing he will play his entire career with one organization.

He plays the game the same as he did when he broke into the league as an 18-year-old rookie at the start of the 2003-04 season. His desire to win never wavers. This season has been one of his best.

Bergeron's two goals helped the Bruins to a 3-0 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night at TD Garden. He extended his goal streak to a career-best five games, and Bergeron now has eight goals and five assists for 13 points in the past 10 games. Thursday's performance was his 13th multiple-point game of the season and his third with two goals.

Overall, Bergeron has 25 goals and 28 assists for 53 points, along with a plus-38. The 28-year-old forward has scored at least 20 goals five times during his 10-year career in the NHL. His career high is 31 goals (2005-06), and with nine games remaining in the regular season, it's possible he could reach the 30-goal plateau.

Bergeron takes pride in his all-around game and doesn't necessarily focus on his individual statistics.

"I never really thought about it, to be honest with you," he said. "It's kind of one of those things that I'm happy it's going in, but I just want to keep my same game, the same level of play, keep getting better. Obviously, that's part of my game. Also, it's to help out offensively and scoring goals and creating plays. I'm definitely happy it's going in, but, that being said, I'm happy when I defend a goal as much as scoring them."

Going to the net and outworking his opponents in the dirty areas have produced most of his goals this season, especially during his current scoring streak.

"The puck's going in, I guess. There's not much to say about it. It's just you get those chances sometimes during the year and it doesn't go in, and now, it is," Bergeron said. "Obviously, it's great any time I can chip in offensively and keep my two-way game. I'm happy with it."

A two-time Olympic gold medalist with Canada, Bergeron has played his best hockey of the season since returning from the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Both he and Bruins coach Claude Julien admit they returned with a renewed energy from the Olympics, and it has shown in Bergeron's play.

Boston's assistant captain and perennial Selke Trophy candidate is focused on the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs.

"It's pretty clear to everyone that's watched him play that he values every part of his game," Julien said. "Whether it's faceoff percentage, whether it's plus/minus, whether he's responsible for a goal against -- he takes those things seriously, and he's hard on himself when it comes to that. He's proud of what he is. He's comfortable in the role that he's asked to play, and, at the same time, it's always nice to see guys like that get rewarded with some decent stats, which he deserves."

Bergeron is the type of player who makes everyone around him better. He and Brad Marchand have been linemates since the 2010-2011 season, and newcomer Reilly Smith has also fit in well on that line this season.

Originally, Julien had Loui Eriksson on the team's second line to start the season, but a pair of concussions sidelined him, allowing Smith to move up. When Eriksson returned, Julien put him on the third line, along with Chris Kelly and Carl Soderberg, a trio has become a potent third line for the Bruins.

Bergeron's line is producing at each end of the ice. The linemates read one another well and play a relentless style of offense and defense. The centerman is humble and credits his linemates for his recent point production.

"I'm definitely not going to take the credit for these goals," Bergeron said. "I'm getting set up perfectly by these guys. We're moving and creating plays by communicating and now knowing where the other guys are going to be, and that is something that is very important for our line."

After a slow start, Marchand has been playing well for the majority of the season. The left wing has 22 goals and 22 assists for 44 points, including a plus-30 rating. Despite only one goal in the past 22 games, Smith is showing signs of coming out of his drought. He's still strong on the forecheck and hasn't been a liability in the defensive end.

Smith is a talented player, and having Bergeron as a linemate has helped his development this season, his first in Boston.

"He's unbelievable," Smith said. "You learn something new from him every day. He's a great player. He's a great mentor. He's a great teammate. To be able to play with the guy on an everyday basis, it's honestly phenomenal."

Boston's second line has created a strong synergy, and Bergeron believes the trio's success is finally paying dividends.

"It's one of those things that takes some time, and you have to keep plugging at it," Bergeron said. "The more you play together, the better you're going to feel. Honestly, it felt pretty good with Smitty right away as soon as we were put together. Also, I'm used to playing with Brad. It's just a matter of establishing that chemistry of three of us together."

With only nine games remaining in the regular season, Bergeron and his teammates are in the midst of a 14-game point streak with a 13-0-1 record. The Bruins are playing their best hockey of the season, and Bergeron is leading the charge.