Bruins: 2013 Stanley Cup finals

Blackhawks tip caps to B's, city of Boston

June, 28, 2013
The Chicago Blackhawks on Friday took out a full-page ad in the Boston Globe, thanking the Boston Bruins for their hospitality and acknowledging the city’s spirit in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings in April.

The Blackhawks beat the Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals earlier in the week.

The ad read:

“Hockey is a tough game. As impressed as we were by the strength, talent, and competitive spirit of the Boston Bruins on the ice, we were deeply touched by what happened off the ice. Rarely have we experienced the hospitality you afforded us throughout the playoff series between two incredibly gifted teams.

“On behalf of the Chicago Blackhawks organization and the entire Wirtz Corporation, we want to personally express our heartfelt appreciation to your city, the Bruins organization, and especially, the citizens of Boston for the remarkable welcome you showed our team and the many Chicagoans who visited.

“From Boston’s political leadership to every member of the Bruins organization; from the players to the people on the street, you demonstrated respect, good sportsmanship, and a genuine love for the great game of hockey.

“Like the rest of the world, Chicagoans have been reminded in recent days of Boston’s strength. Please know we tip our hat to your city’s big heart and gracious spirit. You lead by example and have set the bar very high for others to follow.”

The ad was signed by Rocky Wirtz, chairman of the Wirtz Corporation, which owns the Blackhawks, and team president John McDonough.

This wasn’t the first gesture of good will to come from Chicago in the past couple of months. In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, the staff of the Chicago Tribune sent pizza to the newsroom staff at the Boston Globe as a tip of the cap for their comprehensive coverage of the tragedy.

And here's a video tribute to the Bruins' run to the Stanley Cup finals, put together and posted by the team:

Bergeron's grit, guts inspire Seguin

June, 25, 2013

BOSTON -- The sting of surrendering two goals in the final 1:16 of regulation, losing 3-2 and then having to watch the Chicago Blackhawks hoist the Stanley Cup on their home ice forever will gnaw at the members of the 2013 Boston Bruins. Even if some of these players go on to win another Stanley Cup, they always will remember the pit in their stomachs as they watched the promise of a Game 7 slip away.

But they also will never forget what their alternate captain, Patrice Bergeron, did to give them a chance at their second Stanley Cup in three seasons. Tyler Seguin, Bergeron's linemate of the last two seasons who is still trying to reach his full potential, can take an invaluable lesson from seeing Bergeron hit the ice after ending up in a Chicago hospital after Game 5.

"I think even when he was getting dressed in the locker room before the game, you could feel the boys' spirits lifted," a teary-eyed Seguin said after Game 6. "The year we won he was doing the same thing; fighting through everything. Obviously guys have bumps and bruises, but he’s a guy that you obviously say is the heart and soul of our team. He wears that ‘B’ with a lot of pride."

If someone hadn't asked him, Bergeron wouldn't have mentioned what he had been going through over the past few days. But Bergeron's medical report showed how true Seguin's words are.

[+] EnlargeBergeron
Elsa/Getty ImagesPatrice Bergeron's emotional pain after Game 6 seemed to plague him more than his injuries.
"I had a broken rib, torn cartilage and muscles, and I had a separated shoulder," Bergeron said. "The shoulder was tonight so, I [got] a lot of help from the medical staff."

Yes, you read that correctly. Bergeron not only entered the do-or-die Game 6 with a broken rib, torn cartilage and muscles, he then separated his shoulder during the game and played on, finishing the game with 17:45 of ice time and doing everything he could to will his team to Game 7. But the humble Bergeron wasn't worried about the pain he was in.

"It’s the Stanley Cup final, everyone’s banged up, everyone wants to help the team and obviously I couldn't do that in Game 5," Bergeron said. "It was mostly because they were worried about my spleen being hurt, so that's why we had to go to the hospital. But everything was fine so it was just the ribs and the muscles and the soft tissue. So obviously I would have liked to stay in it, but I was going through a lot of pain."

But even though he was in more physical agony following Game 6, the emotional pain seemed to be hurting the 27-year-old leader the most.

"There’s not many words that can be said right now," Bergeron said. "It’s definitely tough to lose, especially at this time, after everything we’ve been through. You work so hard just to get to this point and give yourself a chance to get the Cup. And you feel like you’re right there, and you have a chance to force Game 7. Definitely it hurts."

Seguin by no means was playing at the level of Bergeron in this playoff run. Bergeron scored the game winner that helped the Bruins escape the first-round battle with the Maple Leafs and went on to have a Conn Smythe-worthy postseason with nine goals and 15 points in 22 games.

But while Seguin struggled to find the back of the net, scoring just one postseason goal, he was doing things he often has been criticized for not doing: hitting, driving into the dirty areas and digging the puck out of the corners.

Sound familiar? Those are elements of Bergeron's game every night. While Seguin can't say he brings that night in and night out, seeing Bergeron's effort, will and determination can only help him get closer to that point and inspire him to come back next season as a more complete player.

Seguin acknowledged that a chronic condition -- likely the hip issue Joe McDonald of reported on last season -- had been acting up recently and that he would be seeing doctors Tuesday. So already, he is following in Bergeron's footsteps and playing through pain for his teammates.

But Seguin's emotions after Game 6 showed in spite of his lack of points, he seems to have learned what it takes to be a star in the NHL, with Bergeron providing the shining example.

"You learn from it, and you use it for motivation. I’ve never felt so motivated in my life," Seguin said. "When you look around the room, whether it’s a guy like Bergeron fighting through everything, or just guys stepping up, [David] Krejci, the way he played in these playoffs, and how big of a performer he was, and that whole line, and [Tuukka] Rask.

"I’ve never felt anything like this," Seguin said as he teared up again. "I’ve never cried for as long as I’ve known until tonight. It sucks, but I love the guys in this locker room, and I’m going to miss them this offseason. But I’m going to make sure I’m working even harder for next year."

Ference: 'Cruel way to finish a game'

June, 25, 2013

BOSTON -- Andrew Ference stood in front of his stall, a "Boston Strong" T-shirt clinging to him. His skates, hanging from pegs overhead, leaked perspiration like the drip of a coffee machine.

"What can you say?"

The Bruins' one-goal, third-period lead in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals expired in a span of 17 seconds. Bryan Bickell's one-timer on the doorstep with an extra attacker tied the game at 2-2 with 1:16 left, and then Dave Bolland delivered the winner as a Bruins team that prided itself on playing defense-first hockey suffered another postseason breakdown for the ages.

"It's just a cruel way to finish a game, that's for sure," said Ference, who was on the ice for Bolland's Cup clincher with 58.3 seconds remaining in regulation.

On both late goals, the Bruins were either outmuscled or outworked below the faceoff dots.

With about 1:20 remaining, Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford vacated his net for the extra attacker. Then, with four forwards in the zone, eventual Conn Smythe Trophy winner Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews worked in tandem to win a loose puck. With the puck freed, Duncan Keith, pinching in along the left-wing wall, stepped up and hit Toews, who was wheeling off the boards below the goal line.

"It was Toews, he had the puck and I had to respect him if he was going to stuff it," Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask explained.

Holding onto his blocker-side post, Rask pushed off, but did so with pads separated, leaving the 5-hole open for Bickell's one-timer.

"They got their best players out there on the ice and then [Toews] made a great pass," Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. "We got caught a little on the wall with their D's pre-pinching."

On Bolland's series-clinching score, the Bruins defense was again slow to react.


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After Johnny Oduya's slapshot from the point was deflected in front of Rask, Bolland was able to establish inside position on Johnny Boychuk, hanging out to the right of Rask. With no leverage, Boychuk attempted to slash the stick out of Bolland's hands.

"We were trying to figure out what it hit in the high slot," Boychuk said. "It hit something and went straight to the tape."

But with the puck on the doorstep, Bolland had an empty net ahead of him, with Rask out of position in an effort to play the initial shot.

The puck went in after the force of Boychuk's downward thrust undid Bolland's stick and gloves from his hands.

Bolland threw his bare knuckles into the air in celebration.

"It makes you want to throw up at the end because it's not for a lack of effort that guys put into it," Ference said.

He added, "They got themselves into the right positions and got the win."


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Perhaps most frustrating for the Bruins' defensive corps was their inability to refocus. For a team that came back to win the Cup in 2011 after trailing three games to two and exhibited uncanny resolve in a Game 7 comeback against Toronto earlier in this postseason, Monday was an aberration.

"You're not happy to give up that tying goal for sure, but this team is as good as any in turning the page and getting on with it," Ference said.

And then, the bottom fell out.

"It's shocking," Rask said. "You think you have things under control. We killed a big penalty there. We're thinking, 'Oh, we're just going to keep it tight and score maybe an empty-netter.' And then, all of a sudden, they score a goal."

And then, there was another.

Chara victimized by Hawks again

June, 25, 2013
BOSTON -- One of the Bruins’ most dependable, reliable assets looked anything but that in the final three games of the Stanley Cup finals, all of which -- not coincidentally -- were losses.

[+] EnlargeChara
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaZdeno Chara, right, speaks with Michal Handzus after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup.
Defenseman Zdeno Chara has been the steady workhorse of the Bruins, logging a yeoman’s load of ice time every night during the playoffs and often neutralizing the opposition’s top playmakers. Yet against a Blackhawks juggernaut featuring skilled forwards Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and Conn Smythe winner Patrick Kane, the Bruins captain was made to look ordinary.

In all, Chara was on the ice for eight of the Blackhawks’ 17 goals this series, including seven of the 12 goals scored in the final three games. He finished a minus-five for the series.

In Monday's Game 6, Chara was on the ice for the Hawks’ first two goals. Out of a faceoff early in the second period, Toews undressed Chara and left him in the dust coming up the boards, swooping in and going five-hole on Tuukka Rask to make it 1-1. Then with less than 80 seconds to go in the contest, Chara couldn't prevent the game-tying goal, with Toews coming out of the corner and slipping a pass through the big defenseman as Bickell went backdoor.

Was Chara hurt? A team source told that Chara played through “bumps and bruises”, but nothing particularly serious. Asked about his injuries, Chara told a group of reporters, “I’m not talking about my physical status, sorry.”

Perhaps Chara had finally hit a wall after logging heavy minutes throughout the playoffs. In the triple overtime loss to Chicago in Game 1, Chara logged close to 45 minutes of ice time. On Monday, he led all Bruins with 25:29, second in the game to Duncan Keith’s 28:51. For the playoffs, Chara set a career high in minutes, averaging more than 25 per game.

With the Bruins in another physical battle trying to shut down one of the league’s most explosive offenses, maybe it all finally got to him.

“I think that it was the case for every team,” Chara said. “I think it wasn’t just Chicago. I think that throughout the whole playoffs, no matter who you play it’s going to be physical, it’s going to be grinding and it’s not just Chicago. It was just the playoffs. I think that that’s the way it is. It’s physical and you have to expect that.”

Game 6 Reaction: Blackhawks 3, Bruins 2

June, 24, 2013

BOSTON -- The Chicago Blackhawks scored twice in 17 seconds to erase a 2-1 Boston Bruins lead and win the Stanley Cup in six games. Bryan Bickell tied the game with 1:16 left and then Dave Bolland scored the game winner with 58.3 seconds left in regulation to bring the Bruins' season to a stunning end.

Milan Lucic had given the Bruins the lead 12:11 into the third period. They seemed to be in control, but the Bruins fell apart in the final two minutes and will be left to wonder what happened all summer long.

Chris Kelly had the Bruins' first goal. Jonathan Toews scored the Blackhawks' first goal to even the game at 1-1. Tuukka Rask had 28 saves for Boston, and Corey Crawford finished with 23 for the Blackhawks.

Mental lapse by Bruins at worst possible time: The Bruins admitted they suffered from nerves and mental lapses in the opening period of Game 5, putting them behind the eight ball right away. But what happened in the final 1:16 of regulation in Game 6 was a mental lapse of epic proportions. All of a sudden the Bruins seemed frozen, or perhaps they were thinking ahead to Game 7. And then the Blackhawks pounced. There was no coverage in front of the net, and Chicago moved the puck toward the net with too much ease. This was a breakdown the Bruins will never forget.

Lucic a beast again: Lucic capped off his best playoff season by playing arguably his best game of the playoffs. Lucic gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead 12:11 into the third period and was masterful on the faceoff dot, winning seven of nine attempts. As he was throughout the postseason, Lucic was a physical force in Game 6, driving to the net and creating traffic in front. He finished the playoffs with seven goals and 18 points and showed he can play in the clutch.

Jagr and Bergeron battle through: After leaving Game 5 with an undisclosed injury and getting examined in a Chicago-area hospital, Patrice Bergeron suited up and played Game 6. Bergeron played 24 shifts, had 17:45 of ice time and won five of 11 faceoffs he took. He was clearly hurting, but give him tons of credit for giving his all to try to help his team force a Game 7. Meanwhile, the Bruins had to deal with another unexpected injury as Jaromir Jagr was hurt early on and missed the rest of the opening period. He tried to give it a go in the second period but could take only one shift before returning to the dressing room for treatment. But Jagr toughed it out and came back to play more in the third period. He finished with nine shifts and 6:27 of ice time.

Bruins' power play struggles to put game away: While the Bruins' power play hadn't been producing as much as they would like, the unit was at least getting on the scoreboard occasionally as well as generating momentum that led to several goals in the ensuing minutes after the power play ended. But in Game 6, the Bruins' power play not only failed to score (0-for-4), but also lacked energy. The Blackhawks actually scored their first goal right after a fruitless Bruins power play, showing just how much the Boston man advantage lacked in Game 6.

Players deal with melting quagmire: Give the NHL and the TD Garden ice crew credit for doing everything they could to battle the hot and muggy summer weather in Boston on Monday, including bringing in a giant dehumidifier. But as the game went on, the inevitable quagmire of melting ice occurred, and the players were forced to adjust by simplifying their game. The pace slowed down as the puck bounced around, but somehow both teams still put on one heck of an exciting show.

Bergeron returns and Soderberg plays: With Bergeron back in, the lineup was the same as it was to begin Game 5. Bergeron was back between normal linemates Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr to start the game. When Jagr was missing in action, Tyler Seguin appeared to get the majority of the time back with his normal linemates of the past two seasons. Carl Soderberg played his second Stanley Cup playoff game with Shawn Thornton and Rich Peverley once again.

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Jaromir Jagr
Daniel Paille-Chris Kelly-Tyler Seguin
Carl Soderberg-Rich Peverley-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Tuukka Rask
Anton Khudobin

Video: Levy, Melrose preview Game 6

June, 24, 2013

Steve Levy and Barry Melrose preview tonight's Game 6 (video above) at TD Garden, where it is expected that both Patrice Bergeron and Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews will play.

And check out Mac's Minute as well for more heading into tonight's game.

Ice conditions won't be ideal

June, 24, 2013
BOSTON -- The last time the Stanley Cup finals were played on June 24 or later was in 1995, when the New Jersey Devils played the Detroit Red Wings.

Playing hockey in the early summer means the ice conditions will not be ideal for either team. The NHL ice crew has done a terrific job given the situation in both the TD Garden and the United Center in Chicago.

With Game 6 of the SCF between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks set for Monday night at the Garden, and temperatures expected to reach the mid-90s in Boston, the teams understand it could be a little sloppy out there.

“Obviously with some fans in the building tonight, it’ll get obviously warmer,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “I thought the ice this morning was in pretty good shape, and they’ve done a good job. Walking in here yesterday with 90-plus degrees it was nice and cool in the arena."

Ever since the start of the Eastern Conference finals, the Garden has been equipped with a commercial cooling system to keep the arena cold.

“But those doors are going to open; I would imagine some heat will come in,” Julien said. “But those are conditions that you have to play with at this time of year. Everybody has been through it, and two teams are going through the same conditions. Both teams are going to tell you the same truth: Keep the game simple and try to avoid those mistakes from overhandling pucks in those kinds of ice conditions.”

Players on both teams complained about the ice after Game 3 in Boston.

The players had mixed feelings about the ice during Monday’s morning skate.

“It’s tough to say,” said Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. “It is pretty humid. This morning [the ice] was kind of rough but it could be great tonight, so it’s tough to say.”

“If there’s bad ice, you have to keep your game simple, which you want to do anyway,” added Seidenberg. “You want to play a straight-line game, especially when the ice is bad.”

The soft ice conditions before Game 3 of this series caused Bruins captain Zdeno Chara to catch a rut and collide with teammate Milan Lucic during warm-ups. Chara had to leave the ice and receive stitches above his left eye.

“It’s June -- late June,” said Bruins forward Chris Kelly with a smile. “You expect it. Even up in Canada it’ll still be warm. The ice is going to be bad. It’s going to be bad for both sides and you expect that. The pretty plays may not always be there tonight because of the ice conditions.”

Julien 'confident' Bergeron will play

June, 24, 2013
BOSTON -- Bruins coach Claude Julien said Monday morning he is “confident” second-line center Patrice Bergeron will play in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals. Bergeron was not on the ice for the morning skate.

“Patrice will dress for warm-up tonight, and I'm feeling confident that he'll play,” Julien said. On Sunday, Julien described the Bergeron injury as a “body” injury.

The 27-year-old Bergeron was taken to the hospital on Saturday night after injuring himself in the second period of the Bruins’ Game 5 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. He flew home with the team Sunday.

If Bergeron is unable to play, expect either Jay Pandolfo or Jordan Caron on the ice in his place.

“Well, I know Pandolfo is going to be in the warm-up tonight for sure, so is Caron, so we're going to have a few guys out there,” Julien said. “And Bergeron is going to be out there, as well. If Bergeron can't go, then I have got some decisions to make. Again, there's a little bit more in the thought process than just picking a guy. I need to make decisions based on what the needs will be for tonight's game."

After Bergeron’s injury Saturday night, Carl Soderberg centered the Bruins’ second line.

Here's what the lineup could look like if Bergeron returns:

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Jaromir Jagr
Daniel Paille-Chris Kelly-Tyler Seguin
Carl Soderberg-Rich Peverley-Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Andrew Ference-Dennis Seidenberg
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask
Anton Khudobin

Marchand on B's: 'We've been here before'

June, 23, 2013
BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins have been here before. In the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, they returned from Vancouver for Game 6 down 3-2 in the series. Facing elimination, they dominated the Canucks with a 5-2 win in Game 6, then did it again in Game 7 at Vancouver for a 4-0 win that gave the organization its first Stanley Cup in 39 seasons.

Here they are again, down 3-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2013 Stanley Cup finals. Can they recapture the magic?

“It’s a different team, different situation but we’ve been here before,” winger Brad Marchand said Sunday at TD Garden. “I think we have a bit of confidence but, at the same time, they’re a very resilient team. They’ve played great so far. They played good last time they were in our building so we’ve got to make sure we realize that and we don’t take it for granted.”

[+] EnlargeBrad Marchand
Harry How/Getty ImagesBrad Marchand is confident the Bruins will take advantage of their opportunity even though they trail the series 3-2.
Marchand is correct. The Blackhawks are a very different team than the Canucks squad that lost Games 3 and 4 at Boston in 2011 by a combined score of 12-1. The Blackhawks definitely had an off night in their 2-0 loss at TD Garden in Game 3, but they bounced back in a big way in Game 4, exploding for six goals in a 6-5 overtime win to tie the series at two games apiece.

Chicago then took the 3-2 series lead with a 3-1 win over the Bruins in Game 5 and is on the verge of clinching its second Stanley Cup in four seasons. To prevent that, the Bruins will need to channel their nerves better than they did in Game 5.

“I thought right off the bat we looked a little nervous,” Rask said. “We didn’t make plays. We didn’t make passes. It didn’t cost us right away, but after the first minute or two we kind of settled in. Both teams had chances. It wasn’t as bad as it has been in previous games.”

Rask was critical of the Bruins immediately following Game 5, questioning why they need to see their best all-around player and leader -- Patrice Bergeron -- exit the game with an injury to finally find their game in the third period?

"It's kind of sad that we've got to lose a guy like that to wake the team up and start battling out there," Rask said. "When you're in the finals and only play 20 minutes, it's not going to be good enough to get you a hockey game, so we have to realize that, and now we know we're going to have some new bodies and new lines on Monday. Everybody needs to play 110 percent."

But if there’s one thing the current core of the Bruins knows how to do, it is to go all in and leave it all on the ice in a do-or-die situation. The past few seasons, the Bruins rarely have made things easy on themselves. But when their backs are against the wall, they tend to answer the bell as witnessed with their miraculous 5-4 comeback win from a three-goal, third-period deficit in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against Toronto.

“It just kind of happens that way. Obviously, we would have wanted to win last night,” Bruins winger Nathan Horton said. “But that’s the kind of character we have in our room. When our backs are against the wall, we show up. Like I said, we play for the guy next to you and we all know what we have to do now. We can’t lose and we’ve got to come to play.”

Marchand agreed that his team has a habit of making things more difficult than they need to be, but also has the character to pull it out in the end. He believes the Bruins won’t waste an opportunity to do something special.

“I just think we’ve got a group of guys who have a lot of character and we want to win the Cup and to do that you’ve got to push to the last second of the last game,” Marchand said. “We’ve learned that the hard way, so we just want to try to use that tomorrow. I mean, we are very desperate right now. We’ve got to make sure we realize what’s on the line. We don’t want to lose this opportunity. It could never come again, so we are going to come out very hard tomorrow.”

This never-say-die attitude is why Bruins coach Claude Julien won’t be giving any Knute Rockne speeches prior to Game 6 or Game 7 if the Bruins get that far. As Julien pointed out Sunday, he thinks his team will be ready to seize the opportunity.

“You don't have to say much to this group,” Julien said. “We're an experienced group that's been through a lot. Not just that, but we have a good group of guys that understand what's at stake. They understand what's happening, and they know what they need to do.

“I don't need to go in there and give this big speech and get these guys riled up because they know what's at stake, and we've proven it in the past. Now we have an opportunity to prove it again tomorrow, and that's up to us to show it on the ice versus talking a great game in the dressing room and not showing up on the ice. I'd rather see our guys be focused, ready and excited about playing tomorrow, and the word 'excited' should be a key word to tomorrow's game.”

Boychuk won't be disciplined for hit

June, 23, 2013
BOSTON -- After reviewing Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk's second-period hit on Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews in the second period of Saturday night's Game 5, the NHL department of player safety decided that the hit didn't warrant any supplemental discipline on Sunday.

Bruins coach Claude Julien agreed with the league's decision.

"I think they said it was clean, wasn't it? Then I agree with them," Julien said Sunday afternoon. "I'm not going to hide from that. If it wasn't a clean hit, I'd have been a guy that supported those kind of things that we need to get out of the game. But it was a clean hit."

There were questions as to whether Boychuk targeted Toews' head on the play, but Boychuk defended his actions.

“I’m pretty sure it was clean,” Boychuk said. “He was cutting to the net, and I came across and read it and hit him. Tried to hit him clean. I’m going to try and play physical. If he’s going to drive the net, like he’s supposed to, I’m going to try and hit.”

Toews ended up missing the third period and is questionable for Game 6 with an upper body injury.

Julien 'encouraged' about Bergeron

June, 23, 2013
BOSTON -- Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien did not rule out Patrice Bergeron for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals, telling French-speaking media on Sunday that he was "encouraged" by the news he received on the injured forward.

A source close to Bergeron told he was optimistic that the 27-year-old would be able to play Monday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Earlier Sunday, Julien told English-speaking media that Bergeron is "day to day" with a "body" injury after exiting Game 5 in the second period with an undisclosed injury. After being taken to a Chicago hospital for observation. Bergeron flew back with the team to Boston on Sunday.

"Well, again, what does day to day mean?" Julien asked rhetorically when a reporter tried to pry details on Bergeron's status. "I don't know if he'll skate tomorrow -- he may. And that's what day to day is. Again, I'm trying to be as clear as I can here."

Julien was then asked how Bergeron's spirits were.

"Was that the question you asked [Brad Marchand] because he said he looks dashing today in his suit," Julien joked "He's a guy that's day to day, and day to day is really good news to me anyway."

All kidding aside, the Bruins realize what they will be missing if Bergeron can't play in a do-or-die Game 6 at TD Garden. Bergeron has been outstanding for the Bruins in the playoffs with nine goals and 15 points, including two game-winning goals.

"He does everything right, basically," linemate Marchand said prior to Julien's press briefing. "He's such a great face-off guy and it really gives us the opportunity to start with the puck a lot. He's very tough to play against defensively, and he's been doing a very good job at playing against their top guys."

As goalie Tuukka Rask pointed out, there will be no replacing Bergeron, but the Bruins must collectively move on and rally together should the star center not play in Game 6.

"You don't replace him," Rask said Sunday. "You adapt and play a different game out there. We can't feel sorry for ourselves if he's missing. We just have to play with the guys that we have."

The Blackhawks may be missing their best two-way player and captain, Jonathan Toews, who left Game 5 with an upper-body injury. Chicago realizes how critical Bergeron and Toews are to their respective teams and the effect either or both of their absences could have.

"Both great players. I think any coach in the league, any player in the league would like to have those guys on their team," Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp said. "I can't speak for what Boston is dealing with, with Bergeron. I know I don't need to say much about Jonathan. I think everyone knows what we think of him in our locker room."

Five takeaways from Game 5

June, 23, 2013

With a 3-1 loss in Game 5 on Saturday night, the Bruins fell behind 3-2 in the Stanley Cup finals and now will have to stave off elimination in Game 6 on Monday at TD Garden. Here are five takeaways from Game 5:

Can the Bruins win the Stanley Cup without Patrice Bergeron? Give the Bruins plenty of credit; they did not fold after falling behind 2-0 and losing arguably their MVP as well as a leader in Bergeron. Bergeron suffered an undisclosed injury prior to Patrick Kane's scoring his second goal to make it 2-0 5:13 into the second period. The Bruins regrouped and held the fort strong for the remainder of the middle frame, and then cut the lead to 2-1 on captain Zdeno Chara's third goal of the playoffs 3:40 into the third. But that lead, and the absence of the player who is arguably a co-captain (not just alternate) with Chara and their best all-around player, plus a revitalized Blackhawks team seemed to be just too much for the resilient Bruins. With the news that Bergeron was taken to a local hospital for observation, I tweeted during the third period, "No Bergeron = No Cup" for the Bruins, and I believe that to be the case. Yes, the Blackhawks lost Jonathan Toews in the third period, but he remained on the bench and wasn't taken by ambulance to a hospital. And yes, Bruins coach Claude Julien said there was no update on Bergeron and he might play in Game 6, but if that's not the case and even if Toews doesn't play, this scribe believes the Bruins cannot win two straight elimination games without Bergeron. If not for Tuukka Rask, Bergeron very well could be the Conn Smythe winner if the Bruins were to win the Cup. He is the heartbeat of the Bruins and the player who can provide anything in any situation in which Julien needs him. The Bruins might force a Game 7 because they're that resilient, but without Bergeron, they will not win the 2013 Stanley Cup.

CLICK HERE to read colleague Joe McDonald's column on Bergeron.

[+] EnlargeZdeno Chara
Harry How/Getty ImagesZdeno Chara scored the Bruins' only goal, but he was on the ice for all three Chicago goals.
Just a reminder that Chara is still Chara: Heading into Game 5, the Blackhawks openly bragged that they were not intimidated by Chara and knew how to beat him. After showing that in Game 4, with Chara finishing at minus-3, they did so to an extent in Game 5, as the captain was minus-2 and struggled for much of the first two periods. But Chara wasn't about to roll over, and in the third period, he came out flying, hitting anything in sight and scoring the Bruins' lone goal. While his defensive game might not have been up to his usual standards in the past two games, he still has a goal and two assists in those two games. Let's be realists here: Chara is human, and like anyone else, he can wear down when playing the minutes he has been playing. But he is still one of the hardest workers in the NHL, and he showed that again in Game 5.

Rask and Crawford bounce back: Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask and Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford were the subject of scrutiny by media and fans alike heading into Game 5 after questionable performances in the Blackhawks' 6-5 Game 4 win. But as they have on so many occasions during the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, the two netminders and Conn Smythe candidates bounced back in Game 5. Rask finished with 29 saves and really couldn't be blamed for either of the two goals he allowed to Kane. As Rask did in Game 4 -- even when allowing six goals -- he kept his team in the game and gave it a chance to win Game 5. He stopped all 12 shots he faced in the third period as the Bruins tried to come back and potentially tie the game. Rask was the least of the Bruins' problems, and the Bruins had some costly defensive lapses in front in Game 5. Meanwhile, Crawford once again silenced the doubters, with a 24-save performance and the win. He was especially big in the opening period as the Bruins outshot the Blackhawks 11-8 but still trailed 1-0 after the first. He is now 15-7 with a 1.83 goals-against average and .932 save percentage as well as being one win from the Stanley Cup.

Faceoffs a difference again: As they have been throughout this series, faceoffs were a crucial factor in Game 5. Even though the Blackhawks were beat on the faceoff dot 39-38 in Game 4, they were a much different team after being dominated in faceoffs in the previous two games. In Game 5, the Hawks actually won the faceoff battle 33-24, and it helped them take a 3-2 series lead. When their skilled players have the puck more, chances are they will score or at least create scoring opportunities more often, and that was the case in Game 5. The Bruins clearly missed their faceoff master after Bergeron left the game injured. They will need to step up as a team at the dot to prevent the Blackhawks from utilizing their offensive skill.

Soderberg not a bad choice: Julien did some line shuffling for Game 5, replacing Kaspars Daugavins with Carl Soderberg on the fourth line with Shawn Thornton and Rich Peverley. The Swedish forward made his coach look pretty smart. Soderberg had some solid chances early on thanks to some strong skating and forechecking. And thanks to his efforts, he found himself taking Bergeron's spot between Jaromir Jagr and Brad Marchand on the second line. Soderberg couldn't seize a regular spot in his six regular-season games, but after a solid 14:16 of ice time in Game 5, he definitely will have Julien thinking about playing him again in Game 6, especially if Bergeron doesn't play.

Game 5 Reaction: Blackhawks 3, Bruins 1

June, 22, 2013

CHICAGO -- Not only did the Boston Bruins drop Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals to the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1 on Saturday night at the United Center, but the Bruins were without the services of arguably their best player.

Patrice Bergeron missed most of the second period and all of the third with an undisclosed injury. He needed to be hospitalized "for observation," the Bruins announced.

The Blackhawks lead the best-of-seven series 3-2. The last time the Bruins trailed 3-2 in the finals, they won the Stanley Cup, rallying to win Games 6 and 7 in 2011 over the Vancouver Canucks.

Bergeron played his regular shifts throughout the first period but was limited to only two shifts in the second period for a total of 49 seconds. He remained on the bench for the second period but did not return for the third. Midway through the final period, the Bruins announced he had been taken to a local hospital by ambulance.

Bruins forward Carl Soderberg, who was inserted into the lineup and made his NHL playoff debut, replaced Bergeron and centered Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr. It was Soderberg's first game since April 28.

The Blackhawks were without Jonathan Toews for the third period, but he remained on the bench. During the second period, he was on the receiving end of a big hit by Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk.

The Blackhawks' Patrick Kane scored a pair of goals to give the victory to Chicago, which also got an empty-netter from Dave Bolland with just 13.6 seconds remaining.

Prior to Game 4 in Boston, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville decided to reunite Chicago's top line of Kane, Toews and Bryan Bickell, and it worked then as the Blackhawks won 6-5 in overtime.

That line continued its surge in Game 5.

The Blackhawks opened the scoring at 17:27 of the first period with a little help from a broken stick. Chicago had sustained pressure in the offensive zone when Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya's slap shot from the left point broke the stick of Bruins blueliner Dennis Seidenberg. The puck was pinballing toward Tuukka Rask when Kane stuffed it home on the short side to give Chicago a 1-0 lead.

The Blackhawks gained a 2-0 lead at 5:14 of the second period when Kane scored his second goal of the game. The Bruins were late getting back on the forecheck, and Kane buried a rebound with ease.

With the Bruins trailing by two goals, they started hitting everything in sight, but they couldn't capitalize on the scoring chances they were able to create.

The Bruins came out hard and heavy to start the third period, and it resulted in Boston's first goal of the game. The Bruins sustained pressure and were rewarded for their efforts when Zdeno Chara's slap shot beat Corey Crawford to the high glove side to cut Boston's deficit to 2-1.

The Bruins kept the pressure on in the final period and Rask made timely saves, but Boston couldn't respond. Chicago added an empty-net goal with 13.6 seconds remaining in regulation as Bolland scored.

The series shifts back to Boston for Game 6 on Monday, when the Bruins will attempt to stave off elimination and prevent the Blackhawks from celebrating a Cup-clinching victory on Garden ice.

Bergeron hospitalized after 2nd-period exit

June, 22, 2013
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron played only 49 seconds in the second period and did not return to the game.

"Let's say right now we're going to give him a little time," Bruins coach Claude Julien told NBC's Pierre McGuire.

Bergeron appeared to be skating gingerly during a brief final shift before returning to the Bruins' bench.

He was on the ice for 6 minutes, 6 seconds total, including nine shifts in the first period and just two more in the second.

The Bruins announced via Twitter that Bergeron left the building and was hospitalized:

Soderberg active for Game 5

June, 22, 2013
After skating with the Bruins' fourth line at practice Friday, Carl Soderberg is in the lineup for Saturday's Game 5.

Soderberg replaces Kaspars Daugavins for the Bruins.

Game 5 will be Soderberg's first playoff appearance for the Bruins. He hasn't seen game action since April 28, and played just six regular-season games.


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