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How Patrice Bergeron rallied Bruins with rousing Game 6 pregame speech

How Patrice Bergeron rallied Bruins with rousing Game 6 pregame speech

ST LOUIS – The big-game experience and Stanley Cup Final pedigree of the Boston Bruins was always considered an advantage in their matchup with the relatively inexperienced St. Louis Blues.

At times it has certainly worked in their favor, and at others it’s been difficult to distinguish as a difference-maker for the Black and Gold. But it felt like the wealth of experience on the Bruins' roster worked fully to Boston's advantage in Sunday night’s Game 6, as the B’s came away with a 5-1 win over the Blues at the Enterprise Center to force the franchise's first-ever home Stanley Cup Final Game 7 at TD Garden on Wednesday night.

Every Bruins player must have felt the importance of surviving Game 6 going into Sunday night’s matchup, but Patrice Bergeron hammered the point home with a rare pregame speech that got his teammates ready for battle.

“It made us all want to run through a wall,” said Jake DeBrusk.

Bergeron said his speech centered around the chance the Bruins players had to fulfill their childhood dreams, and that they needed to win Game 6 in order to realize it. It very clearly clicked with many of his younger teammates, who heeded the words of the Bruins' spiritual leader while participating in their first Cup Final.

"Patrice stepped up big time tonight. It’s within us, the gist of [what he said]. But it was exactly what we needed," said Charlie McAvoy. "It was an element of what the dream is. Growing up every one of us shares the same dream, and it was kind of bringing us all to where we were all little kids once and we all wanted this so badly. I think it was just an element of savoring this moment and not letting it end. It was exactly what we needed. He stepped up. I mean, when he talks everybody listens. That’s the presence that he has. It was when he needed to say it."

“He was everything that you want in a leader tonight. He is every night, but especially tonight. He rallied us in a way that was needed. He has a knack for saying the right thing at exactly the right time, and that’s a leadership ability. It’s something that you grow over time and he obviously has it.”

It stands to reason that the Bruins' experience and leadership will play a large role in the decisive Game 7 on Wednesday night, and that Bergeron will again be at the forefront of everything for a hockey club that’s just 60 minutes away from Stanley Cup immortality.

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Talking Points: Krejci, DeBrusk answer the bell in Bruins' win over Panhters

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Talking Points: Krejci, DeBrusk answer the bell in Bruins' win over Panhters

Here are my talking points from tonight's 4-2 Bruins win in South Florida . . .

GOLD STAR: David Krejci didn’t have a single point during the five-game losing streak. But on Saturday night he stepped up and, lo and behold, the Bruins took home two points. It was Krejci helped kick-start the transition game for Jake DeBrusk’s goal in the first period, and then scored one of his own in the second on a strike from the top of the faceoff circle. Krejci finished with a goal and two points and a plus-2 rating in 16:20 of ice time. He also had five shot attempts and won 9-of-14 faceoffs in a game where the second line providence plenty of offense and pressure. Bruce Cassidy slipped Charlie Coyle up to second-line right wing with Krejci and DeBrusk at the outset of the game, and it seemed to work well for the Black and Gold.

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BLACK EYE: Jonathan Huberdeau is having a very good season for the Panthers, but he wasn’t able to bring out his “A” game for Florida against the Bruins. Huberdeau didn’t get a single shot on net in the 21:25 of ice time that he played. He finished with three giveaways and a minus-1 against the Bruins. He was part of the line set to contain the Krejci line, but instead allowed them to march right up the ice on DeBrusk’s first period scoring play. Huberdeau was also on ice in the third, when Florida coach Joel Quenneville pulled the goalie with more than two minutes to go, only for David Pastrnak to quickly notch an empty-netter that sealed the game. Not a good night for a very good player.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins weathered the storm in the third when the Panthers came hard after them and carved out a couple of goals to cut the lead to 3-2. Considering that the Bruins blew a 4-0 third period lead against the Panthers at home just a month ago, there was certainly some nervous, anxious moments, with the Bruins looking like they’d blow a three-goal lead in the third period this time. But the B’s stiffened after Jaro Halak gave up a soft goal on a Keith Yandle point shot to make it a one-goal game. They didn’t allow Florida to take advantage of any other breakdowns. Instead the B’s hung in there, patiently waiting until the Florida net opened up the winning scoring chance for them.

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HONORABLE MENTION: Jake DeBrusk was at the heart of some of the criticism from Bruce Cassidy after the loss in Tampa when the second and third lines weren’t getting much of anything done. DeBrusk was also one of the players that responded in a big way this weekend by scoring the game’s first goal, a pretty nifty dangle through Florida defenders before beating Sergei Bobrovsky in tight close to the net. DeBrusk also fed David Krejci for his second period goal, finishing with five shot attempts and a couple blocked shots in 15:38 of ice time while posting a plus-2 rating. Perhaps just as important, DeBrusk was winning 50/50 battles for the puck and playing a competitive brand of hockey rather than doing fly-bys in a lot of areas while hunting the puck. If DeBrusk played with the same kind of speed, skill and tenacity on more nights, he’d be a difference-maker for the Bruins more often.

BY THE NUMBERS: 28 – The number of goals for David Pastrnak after collecting two scores against the Panthers, and putting himself in a position where he’s easily going to have 30 goals before the Christmas break.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “I thought we did a really good job. Every line played well. We moved some guys around, but right up and down the lineup all 12 forwards, 6 [defensemen] and Jaroslav Halak were all really good.” –Bruce Cassidy to NESN when asked his assessment of the win that snapped the longest B’s losing streak (five games) since he took over as head coach.  

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Highlights: B's snap losing skid vs. Panthers

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Highlights: B's snap losing skid vs. Panthers

FINAL SCORE: Bruins 4, Panthers 2

IN BRIEF: Oh not, not this again? After the Bruins’ epic third-period collapse in their last meeting with Florida, they nearly repeated themselves after going up 3-0 after two periods. Keith Yandle’s goal with 11 minutes left made it 3-2, Boston fought off the Panthers long enough for David Pastrnak to get an empty-netter that sealed it. And so, after coach Bruce Cassidy called out their attention to details earlier in the week, the Bruins snapped their losing skid with a solid all-around effort.

BOX SCORE

BRUINS RECORD: 21-7-6 (48 points, 1st in Atlantic Division)

HIGHLIGHTS

DEBRUSK’S 100TH CAREER POINT IS A BEAUTY

KREJCI MAKES IT 2-0

PERFECTION LINE MAKES IT LOOK EASY

UP NEXT:

vs. Los Angeles, Tuesday, 7 p.m., NESN

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