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COMMENTARY

Patrice Bergeron's words stir Bruins to Game 6 win

Mike Harrington

ST. LOUIS -- Something about this town makes Boston sports icons speak up and have their teammates listen.

It was nearly six years ago, midway through Game 5 of the World Series, when David Ortiz gathered the Red Sox in the Busch Stadium dugout -- in full view of fans and television cameras -- and urged them to settle down and play their game.

The message got through. The Sox won that night and clinched the title two days later in Fenway Park.

Sunday night, just a couple of hours before alarming reports surfaced about the shooting of Ortiz in the Dominican Republic, there was another speech like that one in the shadows of the Gateway Arch. It came from center Patrice Bergeron, the key forward of this era that has seen the Bruins make three appearances in the Stanley Cup Final.

And it made a difference. The Bruins rolled in Game 6 with a four-goal third period and 28 saves from Tuukka Rask that led the way in a 5-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. It's back to Boston for Game 7 Wednesday night.

Defenseman Charlie McAvoy gave it up postgame, admitting he was shaken by his team's plight in the series. Bergeron gave the Bruins instant backbone.

"Patrice stepped up big-time tonight," McAvoy said. "It's within us but it was exactly what we needed. It was an element of what the dream is. Growing up, every one of us shares the same dream. ... We were all a little kid once and we all wanted this spot. It was an element of savoring this moment and not letting it end tonight. It was exactly what we needed. When he talks, you listen."

Reporters who talked to Bergeron didn't know he had done anything so dramatic, and he only fessed up when pressed on the issue by French reporters who heard what McAvoy had said.

After the morning skate, however, Bergeron had talked about weathering the storm like his team did in the 2011 final vs. Vancouver and again this year in the first round against Toronto. Both of those series saw Boston wipe out 3-2 deficits to win, with this year's comeback starting with a Game 6 win on the road as well.

"We often say these series are long series and it's definitely not over," Bergeron said in words that proved prophetic. "I think we have a lot to learn from that series (against Toronto). We came in, just played our game. We were just ourselves, played the right way and came out on top."

McAvoy said he was moved by Bergeron's words.

"There was such an element of honesty to it, about being in this position and knowing if we just do our jobs, we're a family and we believe in each other," he said. "We all love each other. Just the thought of it being over tonight was terrifying. We've come all this way. We come together when it matters and tonight is a good example. We're thankful to have a chance to play in Game 7."

Ah, Game 7. We finally have one again in the NHL eight years after the Bruins' 4-0 win in Vancouver.

"You've got two good teams that have gone toe to toe here," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "The whole hockey world loves a Game 7. May the best team win."

The Bruins took a first-period lead on a Brad Marchand goal at 8:40 while the Blues were two men short. Rask made it stand up for the next 34 minutes, making 12 saves on four St. Louis power plays to keep the Blues at bay.

The Bruins entered the third period 12-0 in the postseason when leading after two periods and it was easy to see why. They scored four goals in the final 17 1/2 minutes to end the suspense. It started with Brandon Carlo's bouncer from the right point at 2:29 to make it 2-0 and a wrist shot from Karson Kuhlman, playing his first game of the series, to make it 3-0 at 10:15.

Ryan O'Reilly got his fourth goal in three games for the Blues at 12:01 to make it 3-1, but David Pastrnak scored at 14:06 and Zdeno Chara added an empty netter.

O'Reilly had a great chance to open the scoring with a short-handed goal early in the first period, but as he broke on Rask, he lost the puck off his stick.

While killing a penalty a short time later, O'Reilly accidentally jacked the puck over the glass on the backhand. Delay of game. Two-man advantage for Boston.

The Bruins capitalized with Marchand one-timing home a Pastrnak pass.

"Bad play by myself there to take the penalty there to take it to 5-on-3," O'Reilly said. "It took the wind out of our sails and it took too long for us to climb back in."

There was a nervous energy in the city all day. Social media was not in a good mood, however, after the subscription portion of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's electronic paper mistakenly printed ads celebrating the Blues' first Stanley Cup, including a letter to fans from owner Tom Stillman that talked about how much he was looking forward to the victory parade on Market Street this week.

Word also spread that the Blues had booked the entire rooftop of a downtown party for a post-arena celebration.

If you believe in that kind of thing, that's some super negative karma right there.

But this one isn't over for the Blues. The fans chanted "We want the Cup" in the final minute and again after the game. And the road team has now won four of the six games, with St. Louis already owning two wins at the Garden in this series and a 9-3 road mark in these playoffs.

We'll see if Bergeron's words keep resonating like those of Ortiz.

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