Patrice Bergeron will attend NHL All-Star Game if voted in

Matt Kalman
January 10, 2019 - 12:33 pm

Washington’s Alex Ovechkin and Montreal’s Carey Price have already declined the opportunity to play in the NHL All-Star Game in San Jose on Jan. 26, so they’ll be serving a one-game suspension either before or after the All-Star break.

The Bruins won’t have to worry about the same punishment coming for center Patrice Bergeron should he win the NHL’s “Last Man In” vote that ends at 11:59 p.m. Thursday. The online fan vote will determine one more participant from each division and Bergeron is among the eight players on the ballot from the Atlantic Division.

Although he would welcome the time off, he wouldn’t decline the berth either.

Bergeron was asked whether he was hoping to lose the vote.

“That’s not a good way to, I guess, to make a sales pitch, I guess,” said Bergeron after the Bruins’ morning skate to prepare for an evening game with the Washington Capitals at TD Garden.

“So, yeah, we’ll see what happens. If that’s what fans want, I guess I’ll be there. Otherwise I’ll appreciate their non-votes.”

Bergeron, who has played in two NHL All-Star games (in 2015 and 2016) in his career, said recently on a talk show that he’d prefer to rest up and spend time with his family, including a newborn son.

Ovechkin’s decision to decline the invitation to go to San Jose has sparked a number of pundits to come up with ideas for players to be able to earn a sort of “get out of the All-Star Game free card” if they have participated in a certain number of All-Star Games or even have played a lot of regular-season and playoff games in a short span of time.

Bergeron, though, doesn’t see the need for altering the current rule.

“I don’t have an issue with the game suspension” he said. “I think it’s fair, I think if you’re asked it should be something you’re proud of and there’s different reason sometimes that makes you not be able to attend and if those reasons don’t meet the requirements, I don’t mind that one game suspension.”

Looking for a streak bust

The Bruins have lost 13 straight games to the Capitals, including their past six games played at the Garden. The last Boston win vs. Washington was March 29, 2014. Tuukka Rask has a 1-11-5 record with a 3.30 goals-against average and .883 save percentage in 18 games in his career against the Capitals, including letting in five goals on 19 shots on opening night in D.C. this season. So Jaroslav Halak, 9-9-0 with a 2.79 GAA and .902 save percentage in 20 games against Washington, will make his first start in a Bruins sweater against the Capitals.

Washington will start Braden Holtby, who is 15-2-0 with a 1.84 GAA and .943 save percentage in 17 career games against Boston.

“I think part of it is we end up chasing the game a lot against them and it just makes it that much more difficult against a good goaltender, they start to smell blood,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “So some of the things we’ve done recently against other teams is start better at home, so that’s the first thing tonight.”