BOSTON – All signs are pointing toward Patrice Bergeron suiting up for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Though the two-way center was missing from Monday’s morning skate at TD Garden, Claude Julien said following the practice session that he was “confident” his alternate captain would be able to play for the Black and Gold.
Bergeron left the second period of Game 5 with what the team is calling a “body injury” after playing only two shifts and 49 seconds. He was taken to the hospital for tests during the third period of the contest and then released on Sunday.
While it was feared the injury was serious initially, a source indicated to CSNNE.com that it “isn’t a ruptured spleen.”
During his media session with French reporters, Julien took it one step further and said “he will play" (“il va jouer”) when answering queries about Bergeron.
Bergeron will dress for the pregame warm-up on Monday night at the very least, and it appears that both No. 37 and Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews will play in Game 6 after they were both knocked out Game 5.
If Bergeron can’t play, Julien confirmed that both Jay Pandolfo and Jordan Caron will take the pregame warm-up even if Pandolfo, a 38-year-old Winchester native, is not-so-secretly hoping he doesn’t get a chance to play.
“I’m ready if they need me, but I think we’re all hopeful that Bergeron is going to play," Pandolfo said. "We know it’s going to come down to a game-time decision. You’re always ready if you’re called on.”
It also appears Swedish rookie Carl Soderberg will fill in at the center position between Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr.
“I know Pandolfo is going to be in the warm-up tonight for sure, so is Caron,” said Julien. “We're going to have a few guys out there. Bergeron is going to be out there, as well. If Bergeron can't go, then I have got some decisions to make.
“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.”
Bergeron has been one of Boston’s best players with nine goals and 15 points in 21 games, scoring clutch playoff goals, winning more than 60 percent of his face-offs, and playing lockdown defense. He has to be considered a Conn Smythe favorite if the Bruins can somehow pull off wins in these final two games.