Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning's Marc-Andre Bergeron ends slump with a blast

Marc-Andre Bergeron, signed by the Lightning in January,  celebrates his power-play goal that makes it 4-2 in the third.


Marc-Andre Bergeron, signed by the Lightning in January, celebrates his power-play goal that makes it 4-2 in the third.

TAMPA — Ever since veteran defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron was inserted into the lineup in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, Tampa Bay has yet to lose.

The Lightning is 7-0, including coming back from a 3-1 series deficit against the Penguins and sweeping the top-seeded Capitals.

"I'd like to believe it's only me," Bergeron said, laughing. "I'm not that dumb."

But in Wednesday's 5-3 victory over Washington, Bergeron played a pivotal role. His power-play goal, a sizzling slap shot from the high slot 5:07 into the third, gave the Lightning a two-goal lead and proved to be the winner.

And it put a big smile on the face of Bergeron, who hadn't scored in more than two months.

"It was great," he said. "That's why we're here. That's why we put on the jersey. It's an awesome feeling."

It was the kind of goal — and moment — the Lightning envisioned when signing Bergeron, 30, as a free agent in January. Bergeron, a power-play specialist with a spectacular shot, gave Tampa Bay another weapon with the man advantage. And Bergeron, coming off surgery for a torn right ACL, picked the Lightning because he believed it could lengthen his shortened season with a playoff run.

But he scored just two goals in 23 games, the second on Feb. 19, and was getting frustrated. It didn't help that he was a spectator for the first four postseason games due to a back injury.

"It wasn't easy," Bergeron said. "But I wasn't healthy."

However, Bergeron picked a good time to strike, sending a shot through the blocker side of Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth on Wednesday.

"That's why we went and got him," coach Guy Boucher said. "That perfect, knee-level shot that I saw him do last year many times with the Canadiens."

Bergeron finally cracked the Lightning lineup for Game 5 against the Penguins as Boucher decided to go with seven defensemen and 11 forwards, a setup he used often during the regular season. And the fact Bergeron came up with a huge goal Wednesday didn't surprise Boucher but instead symbolized what he believed the playoff run has been all about: Everybody contributes.

"What makes (the goal) important is that there's a guy who hasn't scored in a while. And when you get that, it certainly has a tendency to give you wings and make the players feel that we're even stronger than we were a minute before," Boucher said.

"I'm really happy for him, and the players were really happy for him, too. You could see it on the bench."

Joe Smith can be reached at

Tampa Bay Lightning's Marc-Andre Bergeron ends slump with a blast 05/04/11 [Last modified: Thursday, May 5, 2011 12:29am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays at Jays, looking for some carryover


    The six runs and 13 hits the Rays posted on Tuesday were a positive, but the true test if they are out of their historically bad hitting slump will come tonight and in the coming days as they try to build on their success.

    "Hopefully,'' manager Kevin Cash said after Tuesday's 6-4 win, "there is a …

  2. What you might have missed in the second episode of the Bucs on 'Hard Knocks'


    We're back for another episode of The Annotated Hard Knocks, trying to find behind-the-scenes insights and things you might have missed in Tuesday's second episode of "Hard Knocks," following the Bucs in …

    As the crowd recognized him and got loud, Jameis Winston jumped up and down in celebration. [GREG AUMAN | Times]
  3. Why Noah Spence could be the Bucs' X-factor


    JACKSONVILLE — Noah Spence crouched in a four-point stance, bending low like a sprinter in starting blocks. At the snap, he took one step to his right, startling Jaguars left tackle Josh Wells with his explosiveness. Wells went for the move and Spence countered with an inside swim move, flying past Wells' right …

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Noah Spence (57) participates in training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 

  4. Lefty quarterback's task? Make sure nothing's lost in translation


    GAINESVILLE — When Florida receiver Brandon Powell first met new quarterback Malik Zaire this summer, he was struck by the Notre Dame grad transfer's enthusiasm and outgoing personality.

    Florida quarterback Malik Zaire talks with the press during the NCAA college football team's media day in Gainesville. Zaire is a lefty quarterback, just like Tim Tebow. (Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun via AP, File)
  5. Nikita Kucherov in a wide-ranging Q&A


    While Lightning wing Nikita Kucherov has a tendency to be quiet around the media, he's a Russian with a variety of interests and a passionate hockey mind.

    Nikita Kucherov recently did a Q&A with Russia's, in which he addressed an array of topics.