It has been said over and over that the Stanley Cup is the most difficult of any of the major sports championships to win. Not all hockey cliches are true, but this one makes a lot of sense if you consider the spike in physical play and shot blocking, the every-other-night schedule and the wild increase of minutes and shifts for star players. The role of stars becomes bigger and the absence of important players is magnified. In Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Bruins missed Patrice Bergeron mightily.
The Bruins' center did not start the series due to a mild concussion. Bergeron has two goals, 10 assists, 12 points and is plus-7 during the first two series of the playoffs. He averages 0.73 career points per game (337 in 456), and in 42 career playoff games he's kept up the pace scoring 32 points in 42 games or 0.76 per game with a plus-19.
Before Bergeron was injured in Game 4, he averaged close to 30 shifts per game during the playofs including playing 41 in an overtime game against Montreal. He also took more than 20 faceoffs per playoff game, winning 64.2 percent. More importantly, the center won 21 of 29 faceoffs while short-handed. Only Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf have taken a larger percentage of their team's faceoffs than Bergeron (36.6 percent) during the playoffs.
In Game 1, David Krejci went just 3-of-18 on faceoffs. Rich Peverley won six of 16 in the circle. The lack of faceoff success carried over to Boston's already-struggling power play. Krejci played 3:21 and took (and lost) a large number. Krejci went 0-for-4 on faceoffs in the defensive zone and 1-for-6 in the offensive zone. Peverley went 1-for-7 in the offensive zone. Versus analyst Jeremy Roenick pointed out that Boston was unable to get a hold of the puck to set up their power play offense.