CALGARY — Patrice Bergeron is not showing any signs of slowing down.
The 34-year-old Boston centre continued his torrid scoring on Friday night with a pair of goals to lead the red-hot Bruins to a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames.
The win was Boston's 11th in 12 games.
Bergeron has scored 21 times in 32 games since returning on Dec. 9 from a lower-body injury that sidelined him for seven games. That ties him with Alex Ovechkin for the NHL's second-most goals over the span, behind only Auston Matthews of Toronto (25).
Linemates Brad Marchand, who had the winner to go with an assist, and David Pastrnak, who chipped in with two primary helpers, also had two-point games.
"Playing with those two guys makes my job real easy," Bergeron said. "I'm trying to take care of the details of the game and go on the attack and from there, simplifying our game. We're used to each other. We know where to be. I'm trying to get open for them to find me."
Bergeron has 29 goals this season, three off his career-high of 32, which he's done twice in his 16-year career.
"It goes well beyond him scoring as much as he has been. He does every little thing right," said Charlie Coyle, who also had a goal for Boston. "He's always on the right side of the puck. He has a great stick. Really good defensively. He just puts in the work."
Coyle said the prowess of that top line has a ripple effect on the other forward units.
"They're just fun to watch," he said. "Not just offensively, defensively, doing the right things. That trickles down to our other lines and people want to follow that and emulate that."
Boston (39-11-12) opened up a five-point lead on Tampa Bay atop the NHL's overall standings. The Bruins wrap up their four-game road trip on Saturday night in Vancouver.
Mikael Backlund, with a pair, and Johnny Gaudreau scored for Calgary (31-25-6), which is clinging to the second wild card spot in the Western Conference. Arizona is even in points, but the Flames hold two games in hand. Nashville is two points back with two games in hand.
"They're responsible, they don't give up much. They make you earn everything and that's what makes them such a good team," said Flames left winger Milan Lucic.
The Flames begin a five-game road trip Sunday in Detroit before meeting up with the Bruins again on Tuesday.
"We've got to take the right things out of this game and move on, take the positives out of it," said interim Flames head coach Geoff Ward. "To hold a team like that to the number of shots that we did and the number of scoring chances we did, I thought it was a good defensive effort from our guys."
Marchand gave Boston its first lead 52 seconds into the second period — making it 4-3 after trailing 3-1 — deflecting Brandon Carlo's point shot past Cam Talbot.
Bergeron got the comeback started at 6:12 of the first when he outmuscled Sean Monahan at the side of the crease to bang in a puck as it bounced out front off the end boards.
Coyle tied it for the visitors six minutes later.
"They weren't giving us anything. The couple chances we had, most of them we scored on," said Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk. "They've got four lines that can wear you down. Their D move the puck very well. They defend very, very well. You saw that in the third."
After being beaten three times on the first four shots, Jaroslav Halak was perfect the rest of the way, finishing with 18 saves to improve to 16-6-6.
Talbot's four goals allowed came on 23 shots. He fell to 9-10-1.
Calgary got off to a fast start with Backlund scoring 20 seconds into the game. He scored again at 2:34, his 12th goal of the season and sixth in the last six games.
Bergeron scored 24 seconds later, bud Gaudreau restored Calgary's two-goal lead less than a minute later.
Notes: Mark Jankowski played in his 200th career game. ... Flames captain Mark Giordano (hamstring) was on the ice for optional morning skate on Friday as he inches closer to a return. He's missed eight games. ... The Bruins improve to 9-1-1 against the Pacific Division.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 21, 2020.
Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press