Boston Bruins Patrice Bergeron (right) celebrates a second period goal as Montreal Canadiens Ryan O\'Byrne skates past during second period NHL exhibition action at the Halifax Metro Centre on Monday, September 22, 2008 in Halifax, N.S. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Dembeck
HALIFAX - It was a productive return to the NHL on Monday night for Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron.
The 23-year-old, playing in his first game since suffering a severe concussion almost 11 months ago, had a goal and three assists as the Bruins pounded the Montreal Canadiens 8-3 in NHL preseason action before 7,792 fans at the Halifax Metro Centre.
Bergeron, the game's first star, picked up a pair of assists early in the second period, then scored with 10 seconds left in the frame as he tipped home a shot from linemate Marco Sturm.
His final point came in the third as he made a beautful feed to blue-liner Aaron Ward, who snuck in from the point and made no mistake from in close.
Bergeron, who also played on a line with Phil Kessel, missed 72 regular season games and then the playoffs last season when he suffered a Grade 3 concussion and a broken nose against the Philadelphia Flyers on October 27. Bergeron was driven face-first into the end boards by Philadelphia defenceman Randy Jones.
Sturm added two goals and two assists for Boston, while 21-year-old prospect Vladimir Sobotka also scored twice. Andrew Ference and P.J. Axelsson had the other goals for the Bruins.
Ben Maxwell, Tomas Plekanec and Mike Glumac scored for the Canadiens, who were badly outshot 42-19, including 29-12 through two periods.
Alex Tanguay played his first game in a Montreal uniform and recorded two assists.
Manny Fernandez started in goal for Boston and had 10 stops before being replaced in the third by Kevin Regan. Jaroslav Halak also played the first 40 minutes for Montreal and made 24 stops. Marc Denis was in goal for the third period.