By Finesse (follow me on Twitter)
There's no question that the Patrice Bergeron vs. Sidney Crosby matchup is one of the top story lines of the Eastern Conference Finals. Bergeron is a really good player, he's clutch, and he's exceptional on face-offs. As Puck Daddy pointed out, "Bergeron has given Crosby fits in the face-off circle in the past" (and it linked to this old story).
But other than in the face-off circle, has Bergeron ever given Crosby fits in anything else? We decided to take a look at their head-to-head history ... and we found that one guy has a decided advantage. A very decided advantage.
Read on to find out who...
Crosby and Bergeron have matched up 18 times. The results are pretty clear.
For the image impaired, here are the highlights:
- Crosby is 10-8 overall against Bergeron, but 10-3 in the last 13.
- Crosby has more than twice as many points as Bergeron (27 to 13). We know Bergeron isn't the offensive dynamo that Sid is, but for a guy who is going to be tasked with "shutting down" Crosby, he's allowed Sid to put up 1.5 points per game in their head-to-head match-ups. That's a 123-point pace. Or another way to put it, that would be more points than Crosby has ever scored in the regular season.
- Crosby is a +12. Bergeron is a -8.
- Crosby has been a minus player 4 times in the 18 games. Bergeron has been a plus player 4 times in the 18 games.
- Crosby has put up three points 7 times.
This is not to take anything away from Bergeron. As we said, he's a very good player and seems like one of those guys who will be better in the playoffs than in the regular season. But Crosby is an exceptional player.
So the real question about this match-up is not be whether Sidney Crosby can overcome the Bergeron line. It's whether Patrice Bergeron can live up to his billing as the top defensive forward in hockey, or will Sidney Crosby continue to dominate him?*
*JINX Disclaimer: We accept no responsibility if this post jinxes everything.