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Thursday, May 19, 2011
Patrice Bergeron boosts Bruins

By Joe McDonald
ESPNBoston.com

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Boston Bruins received an emotional boost with the return of Patrice Bergeron to the lineup for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night at St. Pete Times Forum.

He had missed the first two games of this series due to a concussion he suffered in Game 4 of the semifinals against the Philadelphia Flyers on May 6. Bergeron showed no ill effects and was productive in every aspect of the game as Boston won 2-0 and now has a 2-1 series lead.

"I felt pretty good out there," Bergeron said. "I was pretty happy to be back to help the team."

Bergeron said he wouldn't allow himself during this entire process to get discouraged or encouraged by the way he felt since suffering the injury. Since this was his third career concussion, he's been through this before and wanted to make sure he was ready.

"From my experience I tried to take it a day at a time," he said. "I didn't want to put pressure on myself. When you do that, it can make it worse. So obviously I was confident. I knew it was mild, and I felt good. But we didn't want to take any chances, any risk. And I felt like today was -- I felt good.

"I was confident that I was ready, and the doctors and trainers were in the same boat as me. So it was time for me to be out there."

It was as though he didn't miss any time because he was solid in every aspect of the game. He was 18-for-28 in the faceoff circle and played a total of 19:13.

Bergeron suffered the concussion when he was on the receiving end of a hit by the Flyers' Claude Giroux early in the third period in Game 4 of the semifinals.

"Yeah, obviously I wasn't very happy. I was pretty disappointed, especially at that time of the year. You know, you want to be out there, you want to help your team," Bergeron said. "So I was pretty happy with that big win. Gave me some time to, first of all, to rest, but don't also miss -- I didn't miss too much time, which I was pretty happy. And obviously that first night was frustrating, and it was hard to take. But I thought I stayed pretty positive in the process again. And, I mean, obviously it's behind me. I'm looking forward and I'm happy it was mild like it was."

Joe McDonald covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.