CHICAGO -- While the Bruins were putting on the best poker face they could muster following a gritty Game 5 loss to the Blackhawks at the United Center, there was palpable concern for Patrice Bergeron in Boston's dressing room.
The Bruins center played only 49 seconds on two shifts in the second period before being forced out of Game 5 with an undisclosed injury. The Bruins confirmed that Bergeron was transported to a local Chicago hospital via ambulance for treatment of his injuries. He was discharged from the hospital and then flew home with the Bruins on Sunday, according to the team.
Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet in Canada reported there were concerns within the Bruins organization that it was a spleen injury for Boston’s best two-way player. That would obviously have a dire impact on the rest of the series.
Claude Julien expressed hope that his center would be able to answer the bell for Game 6, but that's still in question.
“Obviously, it’s tough. You don’t want to see one of your best players go down, and especially at this time of year,” said David Krejci. “We definitely missed him, especially at the end of the game when we needed to score a goal. But it is what it is.
“I don’t know how he feels or if he can play right now, but we really need him. If not then we’ll try to do everything we can to get a win and force a Game 7.”
As Krejci referenced, the Bruins staged a mini-comeback in the third period when they pulled to within a goal and generally played a better brand of hockey against the Blackhawks. But they couldn’t muster the game-tying goal and fell by a 3-1 score when Chicago’s Dave Bolland popped an empty-netter with seconds remaining in the third period. Tuukka Rask expressed annoyance that it took the Bergeron injury to finally snap his teammates out of their Game 5 funk.
“It’s sad that we’ve got to lose a guy like that to wake the team up and start battling,” said Tuukka Rask, who stopped 29-of-31 shots in defeat. “When you’re in the Finals, you play 20 minutes, it’s not going to be enough.”
It’s unclear whether it will be Chris Kelly or Rich Peverley that will play up in Bergeron’s spot if the alternate captain can’t play, or if the Bruins will completely shake up the forward lines in his absence. But Bergeron's injury will potentially represent the biggest challenge of the season for the Black and Gold if he is out.