Patrice Bergeron is rightfully regarded as one of if not the best centermen in the NHL. The perennial Selke favorite is a dominant force on the ice. But in this series against the New York Islanders, Jean-Gabriel Pageau has got the best of him.
Matching up Pageau against Bergeron has been a crucial decision from head coach Barry Trotz that has allowed the Islanders to win two of the last three (and coming close a third time).
Pageau has effectively dominated Bergeon in this series. This isn’t just an eye-test observation, the numbers tell the same story.
New Yor Islanders Jean-Gabriel Pageau has Bergeron’s number
One of Bergeron’s key skills is his seemingly unmatched ability to win a faceoff. Since 2016-17 Bergeron leads the league in FOW% with an incredible 58.8 FOW% for players with at least 5,000 draws. His ability to win a draw is a big part of his game.
But he’s met his match against Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Over the series, Bergeron holds a 37.8 FOW%. Pageau has won 23 of the 37 draws they’ve taken. Pageau has specifically been prolific in d-zone draws with a 69% efficiency against Bergeron.
That efficiency allows the Islanders to reduce the “perfection line’s” ability to create the offense the Bruins desperately need them to create. Over the last two games, the perfection line has one point at 5on5.
It’s also allowed Pageau and his linemates to put up some impressive offensive numbers of their own. WHen Pageau and Bergeron are on the ice at 5on5, the Isles center man dominates high-danger chances and expected goals-for:
- HDCF%: 80
- xGF%: 57.96
(Stats from NaturalStatTrick.)
Now, to be fair, in terms of 5on5 goals-for Bergeron is up 1-0 against Pageau. That goal was the Marchand OT game-winner in Game 3. That goal aside, Pageau has been flawless at 5on5 when Bergeron is on the ice.
Pageau – the 2020 trade deadline acquisition – has been a crucial addition for the Islanders. And remember some thought the trade was a massive overpay from the Isles. There’s no way Pageau was worth the first, second, and conditional third-round pick that Lou sent to Ottawa.
I know we’ve said it before, but Pageau has been worth every penny for the Islanders. His ability to shut down one of the best centers in the game is just another feather in his cap.