Patrice Bergeron

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Should Bruins break up top line next season?

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The Boston Bruins and their fans are likely still smarting from falling one win short of a Stanley Cup victory against the St. Louis Blues, but the bottom line is that this was an impressive run. Really, it cemented the notion that Bruins management has done a lot right in finding ways to extend this group’s window of contention, where other teams would age out of elite play.

Still, there was one thing that bothered me about the Bruins: their lack of experimentation toward the end of the regular season.

Most teams don’t get the chance to tinker without big consequences

For a long time, it was clear that the Bruins would meet the Toronto Maple Leafs in Round 1 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. There was also plenty of advance notice that the Bruins were unlikely to slip from the second seed.

While other NHL teams can be dinged for a lack of experimentation as well, the Bruins (and Maple Leafs) were in a rare position in this age of parity: they basically knew where they were going to land in the playoff branches, and didn’t really face much of a threat of dropping out of their position for some time.

In other words, if the Bruins wanted to try a bunch of different things – treating the rest of the regular season as a virtual hockey science lab – they wouldn’t have faced severe consequences, even if those experimentations blew up in their faces in the form of losses.

Instead, the Bruins more or less played things out.

If there was one question I would’ve wanted answered if I were in Bruce Cassidy’s shoes,* it would be: “What if we broke up the line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak?”

* – And, make no mistake about it, this would be a bad deal for the Bruins, because Cassidy is overall a very bright coach, and I’d struggle to keep a team under one Too Many Men on the Ice penalties per period.

[More: How will the Bruins look next season?]

Hitting a wall at the worst possible time

Overall, it’s fine that the Bruins leaned toward not messing with a good thing. For the most part, that trio absolutely caves in opponents with their mix of smart defensive play, blistering passing, and dangerous sniping.

Unfortunately, that group hit some serious roadblocks during the postseason, particularly as the St. Louis Blues’ defense found ways to short circuit that top line, and the Blues’ own best players feasted to a surprisingly lopsided degree. This tweet really captures how one-sided things often were during the 2019 Stanley Cup Final:

Yikes. Yikes.

While wear and tear cannot be ignored during the grind of a deep playoff run, it’s fair to ask if the Bruins didn’t have enough of a Plan B for if the top line sputtered. To some extent, you can understand why: because they basically never ran into that problem during the regular season.

Yet, lacking alternate options might have made the Bruins easier to “solve.” Consider this striking excerpt from the latest edition of Elliotte Friedman’s “31 Thoughts.”

When it came to the Patrice Bergeron/Brad Marchand/David Pastrnak line, one Blue said they were determined “not to be fooled by their deception.” Those three are excellent at creating havoc through the neutral zone via the different routes they take. The Blues focused on where they wanted to get to (especially Marchand’s and Pastrnak’s preferred one-timer locations) instead of how they got there.

Attached at the hip

The Bruins certainly provided the Blues and other opponents with a lot of “tape” on the top line, so to speak, as they kept them glued together during the regular season.

Via Natural Stat Trick, Patrice Bergeron played more than 729 minutes with Brad Marchand at even-strength during the regular season, while Bergeron was only away from Marchand for less than 46 minutes. David Pastrnak saw a little bit more time away from that duo, but still spent far more time with them.

It’s striking, actually, that Pastrnak spent almost as much time away from Bergeron and Marchand during the smaller sample of the playoffs (123:12 without Marchand, 134:07 without Bergeron, in 24 games) as Pastrnak spent away from them during the regular season (202 away from Marchand, 182:27 away from Bergeron), and injuries exaggerated those regular season numbers.

You could argue that Pastrnak was moved around because of desperation, rather than inspiration, during the postseason, as things weren’t clicking. So it wasn’t exactly as if those swaps were happening in ideal circumstances.

But what if the Bruins had more combinations in their back pocket?

Roads less taken

Cassidy had the luxury of finding out a little bit more about how other duos or trios might click, but he chose not to do so. Could Marchand and Bergeron really propel their own lines, and how much does Pastrnak need at least one of those guys to thrive? Might Marchand find chemistry with David Krejci, and could Bergeron really click with Jake DeBrusk? If the drop-off from spreading the wealth vs. going top-heavy was small, then the Bruins might have been able to throw different looks against the Blues, rather than playing into their hands.

So, with all of that in mind, how much should the Bruins consider breaking up the top line for 2019-20, or at least portions of 2019-20?

Interestingly, there might be a political element to consider, too: would they grumble at being broken up? In particular, it could be a tough sell to pitch that idea to Bergeron and Marchand, specifically.

Expanding Marchand’s even-strength minutes from 2015-16 to 2018-19 with Natural Stat Trick, the results are pretty comical. Marchand spent 2,461 minutes and 40 seconds with Bergeron during that time period, and just 368:46 without Bergeron. That’s the hockey equivalent of a common law marriage.

If there’s no argument for breaking up the veterans, then maybe continued experimentation with Pastrnak is in order. Theoretically, Bergeron and Marchand could carry a lesser linemate, as that’s the general pattern around the NHL, as teams just don’t often enjoy the option to load up with their three best forwards and still have some talent left over not to get bombarded when their other three lines are on the ice.

Consistency vs. versatility

Again, the Bruins have done an impressive job finding other players, and this post is mainly asking the question regarding whether they can get even better, or at least more versatile.

This interesting piece by Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald discusses David Krejci wanting a more stable partner on the right wing to go with Jake DeBrusk on the Bruins’ mostly effective, but occasionally hot-and-cold second line.

To be fair, Krejci wants stability, where I would argue that the Bruins should try a number of different looks:

“We did touch on that a little bit, but that’s not really something I can control,” Krejci said. “We have lots of good players here who can play on that side, so I’m not worried about that. We have lots of players. But what I would like to have is consistency of the lines so you create some chemistry. You always go through some ups and downs. Everyone does. But if you stay together as a line, in your difficult time of the year, the two other guys can lift you up, or the other way around.”

Conroy brings up some options as right-handed shooters, from Pastrnak to interesting young forward Karson Kuhlman. I’d also throw Charlie Coyle‘s name in the hat, as while he’s mostly served as third-line center for the Bruins, Coyle also played at RW at times during his Wild years.

The thing is, coaches do what Krejci doesn’t like, and get the line blender going for reasons. During an 82-game season, you’re going to experience streaks, but also injuries. You also must battle stagnancy and predictability.

But, really, finding different looks comes down to the playoff contests after the 82-game season.

***

Would the Bruins have won it all if they could have kept the Blues a bit more off balance? Maybe, maybe not. You could also argue that staying the course helped the Bruins get as far as they did, in the first place.

Either way, these are the questions the Bruins should grapple with, and experiments they should undergo more often than they did in 2018-19. Chances are, their cap situation won’t allow them to add much and will probably force them to lose a nice asset like Marcus Johansson, so it’s about getting the most out of what they already have.

Cassidy & Co. deserve credit for getting a whole lot out of this group, already, yet maybe there are a few more answers that simply haven’t been explored, or explored enough to truly know?

LOOKING BACK, AND AHEAD, FOR BRUINS

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

PHT Power Rankings: Win or lose the Conn Smythe should belong to Rask

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This much should be obvious: If the Boston Bruins win Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night (8 p.m. ET; NBC; live stream) starting goalie Tuukka Rask is going to be the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP.

If that situation plays out, it is simply going to be his award.

Brad Marchand has been great. Patrice Bergeron has been outstanding. Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy have carried the defense. Charlie Coyle has turned out to be a huge trade deadline pickup. All of them would be a worthy contender (or winner) in any other season. But for as good as they have all been none of them have played a bigger role in the Bruins’ postseason success than Rask, and he has done it from the very beginning of the playoffs with a consistency and level of dominance that should have erased any doubts his harshest critics may have ever had about him as a big-game goalie.

He is the biggest reason the Bruins have reached this point and the single biggest reason the St. Louis Blues have not already won their first Stanley Cup.

His performance this postseason is as good as we have ever seen from a goalie, highlighted by a .939 save percentage that ranks among the NHL’s all-time best.

He is just the fifth different goalie in NHL history to play in at least 20 playoff games and have a save percentage higher than .935, and he is the only goalie that has done it twice.

In his 23 appearances this season he has recorded a save percentage below .912 just five times. He has had zero games with a save percentage below .900. Just for context on that, every other goalie this postseason has had at least one such, while 15 different goalies had at least two.

His Stanley Cup Final counterpart, St. Louis’ Jordan Binnington, has had eight such games.

His save percentages by series have been .928, .948, .956, and .924.

No matter the metric, whether it is in any one individual game or the postseason as a whole, he has been sensational.

So sensational that the Conn Smythe Trophy should probably be his whether the Bruins win Game 7 or not.

It is not completely unheard of for a member of the losing team to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as it has happened five times in NHL history with Detroit’s Roger Crozier (1966), St. Louis’ Glenn Hall (1968), Philadelphia’s Reggie Leach (1976) and Ron Hextall (1987), and Anaheim’s Jean-Sebastien Giguere (2003) all doing it. It is obviously extremely difficult to do, but it can happen when all of the right circumstances are in place.

It usually involves a goalie (as four of the previous ones were) putting together an incredible postseason where they help carry their team for the entire postseason and then loses to a team that does not really have a clear favorite of their own. That would pretty much describe the Blues if they win Game 7. Their success is not related to any one great individual performance that has stood out above the pack. At any given time it has been one of Ryan O'Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko, or Jaden Schwartz carrying the offense, but none of them have done it consistently throughout the playoffs. Their goalie, Binnington, has really only been okay with moments of brilliance surrounded by obvious flaws and some downright bad games.

If the Blues win history and all modern precedent suggests one of their players will end up winning the Conn Smythe, but if we are being objective about this the true MVP of the playoffs has been standing in Boston’s net all postseason. The outcome of Game 7 is not going to change that. Without him playing at the level he has played at the Bruins have not already been eliminated in this series, they may have very easily been eliminated in Round 1 (against the Toronto Maple Leafs) or in Round 2 (against the Columbus Blue Jackets).

In this week’s PHT Power Rankings we take one more look at the 2019 Conn Smythe race where Rask is rightfully at the top of the pack on a tier all his own. Everyone else is (or should be) fighting for second place.

To the rankings!

The favorite

1. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins. He has simply been the best and most impactful player on the ice in the playoffs and is probably the single biggest reason this series is still going on. His numbers are among the best we have ever seen from a goalie in a single playoff run and he has been so much better than everyone else that even if the Blues win Game 7 it should probably be his to take home. The chances of that actually happening are slim (there is plenty of precedent that says the series winner will get the MVP) but that doesn’t mean we can’t disagree.

[Related: Rask the rock steps up for Bruins in Game 6]

If the Blues win

2. Ryan O’Reilly, St. Louis Blues. He has probably done enough in this series to get the award if the Blues take Game 7. He may not have consistently been the team’s most productive player or top scorer in the playoffs, but he is still probably their best all-around player and for much of the Stanley Cup Final has beaten Boston’s Patrice Bergeron at his own game as a top-tier two-way center. It is supposed to be an award for the entire postseason, but recency bias takes over in the Stanley Cup Final and O’Reilly has been a monster for the Blues in the series with four goals and three assists. He goes into Game 7 on a three-game goal scoring streak.

3. Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues. He played better than his numbers illustrated earlier in the playoffs, then he went on a white-hot run at the absolute best time for the Blues starting with Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. As mentioned above the Blues do not have a clear-cut favorite at this point but the way Tarasenko put the offense on his back over the past month (six goals, five assists over the past 12 games) would make him a worthy candidate.

[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

The long shots but still worth a mention

4. Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins. We have had Marchand at the top of the rankings for much of the playoffs, mostly because he has been awesome and probably their best overall player not named Rask. But we are dropping him down a few spots here for two reasons. First, he has had a quiet series against the Blues and that will no doubt impact voters when it comes time to cast their ballots (whether it should or not). Second, and most importantly, if the Bruins win Game 7 it just seems impossible to believe that anyone other than Rask will be taking home the MVP. That does not take away from the postseason Marchand has had, just that he has probably become a distant second on his team in the playoff MVP race.

5. Torey Krug, Boston Bruins. The Bruins’ defense was shorthanded for much of the regular season due to injury and that trend has continued at times in the playoffs. Zdeno Chara missed a game earlier this postseason and has played the past two games with a (reported) broken jaw. Matt Grzlecyk has been sidelined since Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Charlie McAvoy missed a game earlier in the playoffs due to suspension. While all of that has been happening Krug has been the one constant on the team’s blue line in the playoffs, appearing in every single game and putting up huge numbers offensively. He is the team’s third-leading scorer entering Game 7 with 18 points, including six in the Stanley Cup Final against the Blues.

6. Jaden Schwartz, St. Louis Blues. If the Blues win he would be a nice sleeper choice because of what he did prior to the series. He has gone quiet against the Bruins, but his hot streak in previous played a huge role in helping the Blues to reach this point. 

7. Charlie Coyle, Boston Bruins. After a slow start to his Bruins tenure after the trade from the Minnesota Wild Coyle ended up being everything the Bruins hoped he would be in the playoffs, adding a necessary secondary scoring boost to the lineup. Like Marchand and Krug (and anyone else on the Bruins) he has almost zero chance of taking the award away from Rask if the Bruins win, but he has still proven to be a huge addition that has helped drive the Bruins’ run.

MORE BLUES-BRUINS:
• Bruins push Stanley Cup Final to Game 7 by beating Blues
• Special teams an issue once again for Blues in Game 6 loss
• St. Louis newspaper gets roasted for ‘jinxing’ Blues before Game 6

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Bruins’ Bergeron inspires team with pre-game speech

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When Patrice Bergeron spoke to the dressing room prior to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Sunday, the Boston Bruins listened.

Attentively.

It’s not that they wouldn’t have on any other occasion. Bergeron might as well be a god among men in that room for what he’s been through in his career and what he’s achieved.

And the Bruins hung on every word.

“He’s a legend,” Jake DeBrusk said. “I mean, he said some words that, I don’t know if he wants me to necessarily repeat them. They weren’t bad words. I mean, it was just what we all dream about doing. We’re here for a reason and everyone who plays hockey grows up and dreams of playing in this moment, and it was pretty much something around those lines.

“To see him kind of set the tone that way made us want to run through a wall.”

[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Bergeron is one of four Bruins still on the team that hoisted the Stanley Cup in 2011.

When the Bruins lost the Cup to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013, Bergeron played with a broken rib, torn cartilage and a separated shoulder. There’s also his nasty history with concussions. But the point is Bergeron knows what it takes, not only to reach the stage where his team was at against the St. Louis Blues prior to puck drop, but to turn a 3-2 series deficit in the Cup final into a 4-3 win, like they did in 2011.

“It was exactly what we needed,” Charlie McAvoy said. “It was. It was an element of what the dream is. Growing up, every one of us shares the same dream and kind of just bringing us all to a point where we can all be on the same field. We were all a little kid once and we all wanted this bad. And I think it was just an element of savoring this moment and not letting it end tonight. It was exactly what we needed. He stepped up.

“When he talks, you listen.”

And the Bruins did, engineering a 5-1 win to force Game 7 at TD Garden on Wednesday.

Bergeron, who’s an assistant captain for the Bruins, said after the game that he often riles the troops.

“It’s part of my role,” the 33-year-old said.

The message, in his words?

“We are in a situation that is everyone’s childhood’s dream here and we must realize it,” Bergeron said.

Of course, Bergeron and his line walked the walk in the game as well, with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak each potting a goal and adding a helper.

The value of Bergeron’s speech for Bruce Cassidy was explained in one word.

“Tremendous,” Cassidy said. “I believe those veteran guys come in handy before the game. They’ll come in handy tomorrow and Tuesday for us. We’re going to have to live a bit what St. Louis did today and have to deal with now you’re going home, the Stanley Cup’s in the building, someone’s winning it. You’ve got a lot of new friends all the sudden or old ones are coming out of the woodwork. I think the message, they’ve been good at that: stay in your bubble. Take care of your immediate family but catch up with your friends on Thursday type of thing. And I’m not trying to be disrespectful but you really got to be dialed in.

“I don’t know if St. Louis dealt with that or not. I’m just saying there is a danger there and I think that’s what [Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and David Krejci], these guys have been there and are able to get that message out. Once the puck drops, they’re valuable for us, but I think players just have to play then. The debate was how much does experience matter. St. Louis had what, one guy, Perron, and here they are. So I do believe that once the puck drops, you play. You execute or you don’t. You get a save. But those veteran guys can sure help you in the moments where you have a little bit of free time and maybe you think too much and you get in your way. I believe [Bergeron, Chara, Krejci and Marchand] have done a good job.”

Blues-Bruins Game 7 is Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBC and the NBC Sports app.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Special teams an issue once again for Blues in Game 6 loss

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There are a lot of reasons the Stanley Cup Final is headed to a winner-take-all Game 7 on Wednesday night.

The play of Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask is definitely at the top of that list as he continues to put together a postseason effort for the ages.

Right behind him has been the constant special teams struggles of the St. Louis Blues.

That issue showed up again in their Game 6 loss on Sunday night, and it happened right from the start.

With a frenzied crowd behind them and a chance to clinch their first ever championship, the Blues were given a fantastic opportunity to strike first just two minutes into the game when Sean Kurarly was whistled for a delay of game penalty for shooting the puck over the glass from the defensive zone. The ensuing Blues power play disappeared without a goal (or even the threat of a goal), something that would happen three more times throughout the night.

The 0-for-4 performance on Sunday dropped the Blues’ power play to just 1-for-18 in the series and leaves them with only a 15.4 success rate for the entire playoffs. Just how bad of a percentage is that? Consider that a 15.4 power play percentage in the regular season would have finished 28th out of 31 teams in the entire league. So it’s been bad. Very bad.

Sunday’s struggles certainly weren’t for a lack of chances as 12 of the Blues’ 29 total shots in the game came on the power play, only to have every single one of them shut down by Rask. On one particular play in the second period it was a team effort between Rask and Charlie McAvoy that only had to add to the Blues’ frustrations.

Still, the end result was the same. A lot of opportunities. Some decent chances. And no goals.

“Well, we had 12 shots,” said Blues coach Craig Berube when asked about his team’s struggles on the power play.

“We did have momentum, we had some good looks. We didn’t score. Rask made some good saves. Can it be better? Yeah, it has to be better. It could have won us the game tonight, but I don’t think it was … we had good looks. We had 12 shots on the power play tonight, but we’ve definitely got to bury a couple.”

Making matters worse is that shortly after the Blues failed to score on their early power play attempt, and when they were still dictating the early pace of the game, another early series issue resurfaced for the Blues — their at times stunning lack of discipline.

[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

It was then that Brayden Schenn was sent off for a careless hit from behind to put the Blues shorthanded, which was followed just a minute later by Ryan O'Reilly shooting the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty to give the Bruins an extended two-man advantage.

They did not waste it.

After a failed Blues’ clearing attempt, thanks in part to a great defensive play from Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand scored his second goal of the series when he wired a one-timer behind Jordan Binnington to give the Bruins a lead they would never really come close to surrendering the rest of the night.

Just like that all of the early momentum the Blues had built for themselves with a fast start was completely gone because the power play could not score, they could not stay out of the penalty box, and they could not keep the Bruins off the scoreboard when they did take a penalty.

“We did have some good looks and some good chances, but you need the result,” said Ryan O’Reilly regarding the power play. “There were a few times there where it could have given us the spark we needed, to grab the momentum. Unfortunately we didn’t. But we’ve gotta let this one go and bounce back quick and get it done there.”

The overall numbers for the series are quite stunning when it comes to special teams play. Through the first six games there have been nine special teams goal scored between the two teams. Eight of those goals (seven power play and one shorthanded) have been scored by the Bruins.

The Blues’ discipline and penalty kill struggles really hurt them in Games 1 and 3, and their power play has held them back the entire series. Even though the special teams may not have been the biggest contributing factor in Game 6, they certainly played a role in turning it into a rout on the scoreboard and robbing the Blues of a chance to clinch the series.

If Game 7 turns into another special teams game, or if the Blues are unable to flip the script in that area from what we have seen in the first six games, it could result in the franchise’s first ever championship slipping through their fingers.

Related: Bruins push Stanley Cup Final to Game 7

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Bruins’ ‘Perfection Line’ far from perfect lately

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They’ve been dubbed ‘The Perfection Line,’ but lately, in reality, they’ve been far from it.

Patrice Bergeron, with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak flanking, have been one of the talking points of the playoffs, especially heading into the Stanley Cup Final. In the first three rounds, the line combined for 46 points, at times taking games into their respective hands and conjuring up a win.

They earned the moniker, surely. But perfection has evaded them as of late.

Through five games, they’ve combined for nine points — four, if you take away a lopsided 7-2 win in Game 3. In pivotal games such as Games 4 and 5, they combined for just two assists.

It’s a slump the Bruins can ill-afford at the moment. Their top unit on the power play is manned by the same three players, and that power play is 0-for-5 in their past two games after going 6-for-14 in the first three.

Last I checked, perfection isn’t spelled s-l-u-m-p.

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy addressed the rut during the off-day on Saturday.

The line’s production dried up both Round 2 and 3, at times, and Cassidy believes that they can work themselves out of it again, particularly Marchand.

“We asked him to attack a little more,” Cassidy said. “What happens with Brad is if the puck’s not going in, he wants to make plays for Pasta, because Pasta can score, Berg, they’re all 30-goal scorers, so [Brad] defers a little bit.

“We tried to get him out of that mindset and just play. If the pass is there, obviously make it, but don’t be afraid to shoot. You saw it the other night, he rang one off the post, had one cross screen and nice blocker save, [Sean] Kuraly almost got the rebound, so there was some stuff going on there for him. I thought Pastrnak was closer than that, had a block on a wraparound, so he’s getting inside. That encourages me. So I feel they’re close, but St. Louis is tough. It’s tough to get inside, they defend well, goaltender’s playing well. So it’s a good battle right now.”

If there’s a good omen here, it’s that the first time Boston faced elimination in these playoffs, perfection was, indeed, the deciding factor.

The Bruins found themselves trailing the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 in their Round 1 series. With their backs up against the wall, Marchand exploded for two goals and an assist, Pastrnak assisted twice and Bergeron added a helper of his own for a six-point night for the line and a win that forced a Game 7.

Given who the Blues have played the Bergeron line as of late, it appears Boston is going to need another one of those Herculean efforts on Sunday to send the series back to Boston for the 17th Game 7 in Stanley Cup Final history — and first, ironically, since Boston won it all in 2011.

“I do believe they were better, closer to scoring than they have been,” Cassidy said. “And I’ve said it: listen, we want them to score, but we’ve gotten production all playoffs from different players. It’s why we’re still playing. That’s the mindset tomorrow. Your best players need to be your best players, but if they defend well and we have a good defensive game, you know, we’re in it, I feel someone will step up. Probably them, because they usually do.

“But same token, we don’t want to put so much pressure on them they get outside their overall game, their defensive game, because they’re a good line all-around and we don’t want them to lose that.”

For what it’s worth, Boston pushed the pace with 39 shots in Game 5, 13 of which came from Bergeron’s line, and got very unlucky when Noel Acciari was slew-footed, leading to David Perron‘s 2-0 goal that would be all the difference in a 2-1 St. Louis win.

Give that line another 13 shots and the story could be vastly different. The Bruins will be hoping that’s the case.

Blues-Bruins Game 6 is Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBC and the NBC Sports app.

MORE BLUES – BRUINS COVERAGE:
Bruins vs. Blues: Three keys to Game 6 of Stanley Cup Final
Blues looking to seize opportunity, close out storybook season
• Pucks tell the story of Blues’ rollercoaster season
• Bruins’ Chara was more than just brave in Game 5
• Chara, Dunn join jaw-dropping club of playing through pain
• Bruins, Blues in familiar places heading into Game 6


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck