BOSTON -- In terms of demeanor on the ice, Patrice Bergeron is more Lady Byng than pugilist.
Entering Saturday night's second string of a home-and-home with the Buffalo Sabres, the 10-year NHL veteran had yet to incur a fighting major in a regular-season game.
But those are isolated incidents.
But there also comes a breaking point, and Bergeron reached it with towering Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers. And so Bergeron exchanged some holiday spirit with the 6-foot-8 blue-liner, trading a few blows at 14:07 of the second period of the Bruins' 4-1 victory.
"His last cross-check, he got me in the face, so that got me fired up, but it's part of the game," Bergeron said. "I was trying to get to the front [of the net], so he was trying to keep me away from his goalie. He's a pretty tall guy, so he got me up in the face. It's part of the game, also."
The altercation eventually escalated into fisticuffs, with Myers dealing several shots to Bergeron, including one to his head, before both parties dropped gloves.
"Well, he has to stand up for himself," Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Bergeron, perhaps implying a lack of a penalty call from officials as a factor in the bout.
Still, there was a moment or so before Bergeron agreed to engage, working through last-minute arrangements before having at it.
Of course, it, too, was a gentleman's agreement.
"He asked if I wanted to do it and I was fine with it," Bergeron said. "I asked him, also."