Following the Gold Medal game between Canada and Sweden, a lot of storylines were rolled out. Lost in all the noise was the fact that Patrik Berglund had been the No. 1 center for the Swedes, and he’d been able to lead the team all the way to a Silver. Not a bad showing for a guy who was supposed to be more of a depth player on a loaded Swedish team.
Injuries piled up for the squad, however. After Henrik Zetterberg was forced to bow out of the tournament with a back injury, Berglund was left as the team’s top pivot. Sometimes all a player needs is a chance to prove that he can be a top-end performer to become just that.
The 2013-14 NHL season had been a disappointing one for the trusty two-way forward. Leading up to the Olympics, Berglund hadn’t scored for the St. Louis Blues in 14 consecutive games. His statline read eight goals, but six of them had come during a nine-game span from the middle of December until the beginning of January.
Outside of that sudden outburst, the 25-year-old had been mostly silent on the goal-scoring front. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Ken Hitchcock isn’t afraid to roll Berglund out in defensive situations. He doesn’t play the toughest minutes on the team, but he’s not sheltered like Derek Roy is either. So while goals aren’t the hallmark of Berglund’s game, his pedigree as a first-round draft pick indicates that he’s capable of more than a few tallies.
We’re starting to see that now. He was outstanding for Sweden, scoring two goals and adding an assist in six games played. After failing to find the back of the net in St. Louis’ first two contests after the Olympics, he was the driving force behind the team’s come-from-behind win over the Phoenix Coyotes.
St. Louis had been shutout in two consecutive games and went into the third period against Phoenix without a goal. That’s when Berglund helped the Blues breakthrough en route to a 4-2 victory. He opened the scoring for St. Louis with this dandy finish.
He then put the game away by going on a dandy end-to-end rush before sniping from the slot.
These are the kinds of performances that the Blues want to see out of Berglund. They’re a much more dangerous team when he’s at least a threat to score goals, and the trip to Sochi might have finally woken him up. He’ll try to maintain the hot stick as the Blues take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow.
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