(AP) Blackhawks, Bruins head into Game 6 without stars
By JIMMY GOLEN
AP Sports Writer
Patrice Bergeron joined his Bruins teammates for a postgame dinner and was with them when they flew back to Boston to prepare for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
When they arrived at TD Garden on Sunday afternoon, he got off the bus, walked to a car without crutches or assistance and was driven off.
As the Cup final approaches a sixth and potential clinching game Monday night, the attention shifted from the players on the ice to the ones who might not make it there, including two of the top forwards and biggest stars in the series.
Neither Bergeron nor Chicago’s Jonathan Toews finished Game 5 on Saturday night, and while their coaches expressed optimism that they would be able to play in Game 6, it was shrouded in the typical secrecy surrounding NHL injuries.
Bergeron was injured in the second period of Saturday night’s game, which the Blackhawks won 3-1 to take a 3-2 lead in the series. He made two brief appearances on the ice in the third but something was obviously wrong and he was unable to complete either shift.
Toews, who won the Selke Award as the NHL’s top defensive forward–Bergeron was a finalist–missed the entire third period after a shot to the head from Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk.
Bergeron was taken from the United Center to a Chicago hospital in an ambulance for observation. He was released later Saturday night and rejoined his teammates for a team meal.
He did not speak to reporters on Sunday. Asked to elaborate on the injury, Julien said, “Body injury.”
The Blackhawks lost Toews after Boychuk knocked him down in the slot, making contact with his head. Boychuk wasn’t penalized, and NHL spokesman John Dellapina said Sunday that the league reviewed the hit and there will be no supplemental discipline.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville alluded to the contact with the head but then said, “I’m not going to go there.”
Toews was tied with Patrick Kane for the Blackhawks’ team lead with 23 goals during the regular season. Since being reunited with Kane on Chicago’s top line in Game 4, Chicago has rallied to take the lead in the best-of-seven series. Before he was knocked out of Game 5, Toews assisted on both of Kane’s goals.
Quenneville said Toews was doing much better and the team is optimistic he will be able to play in Game 6.
With or without Toews and Bergeron, the Blackhawks have a chance to clinch their second Stanley Cup title in four seasons on Monday night in Boston. If they lose, the series returns to Chicago for a decisive seventh game Wednesday.
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