BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins are getting their captain back in the lineup for an important Game 5 at TD Garden.
Patrice Bergeron will make his 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs debut Wednesday night when the Bruins host the Florida Panthers with a chance to close out their first-round series on home ice. He is expected to play on the first line between Tyler Bertuzzi and David Pastrnak, based on line rushes during the pre-game warmup.
Bergeron suffered an upper body injury in the regular season finale versus the Montreal Canadiens on April 13. He did not play in the first four games of the series against the Panthers.
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The Bruins did well without their first-line center. Several players stepped up in his absence, including centers Charlie Coyle, Pavel Zacha and Tomas Nosek. Taylor Hall, who has a team-leading seven points through four games, is playing some of his best hockey of the season. Tyler Bertuzzi has been a force in this series, too, with six points (two goals, four assists).
But make no mistake, getting Bergeron back is a massive lift for the Bruins. He's the best two-way forward in the NHL. Earlier this season he reached the 20-goal mark for the 10th straight season, and he remains the best defensive forward in the sport. Bergeron has 167 games of playoff experience, including three trips to the Stanley Cup Final (2011, 2013, 2019).