The big-game experience and Stanley Cup Final pedigree of the Boston Bruins was always considered an advantage in their matchup with the relatively inexperienced St. Louis Blues.
At times it has certainly worked in their favor, and at others it's been difficult to distinguish as a difference-maker for the Black and Gold. But it felt like the wealth of experience on the Bruins' roster worked fully to Boston's advantage in Sunday night's Game 6, as the B's came away with a 5-1 win over the Blues at the Enterprise Center to force the franchise's first-ever home Stanley Cup Final Game 7 at TD Garden on Wednesday night.
Every Bruins player must have felt the importance of surviving Game 6 going into Sunday night's matchup, but Patrice Bergeron hammered the point home with a rare pregame speech that got his teammates ready for battle.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
"It made us all want to run through a wall," said Jake DeBrusk.
Bergeron said his speech centered around the chance the Bruins players had to fulfill their childhood dreams, and that they needed to win Game 6 in order to realize it. It very clearly clicked with many of his younger teammates, who heeded the words of the Bruins' spiritual leader while participating in their first Cup Final.
"Patrice stepped up big time tonight. It's within us, the gist of [what he said]. But it was exactly what we needed," said Charlie McAvoy. "It was an element of what the dream is. Growing up every one of us shares the same dream, and it was kind of bringing us all to where we were all little kids once and we all wanted this so badly. I think it was just an element of savoring this moment and not letting it end. It was exactly what we needed. He stepped up. I mean, when he talks everybody listens. That's the presence that he has. It was when he needed to say it."
"He was everything that you want in a leader tonight. He is every night, but especially tonight. He rallied us in a way that was needed. He has a knack for saying the right thing at exactly the right time, and that's a leadership ability. It's something that you grow over time and he obviously has it."
It stands to reason that the Bruins' experience and leadership will play a large role in the decisive Game 7 on Wednesday night, and that Bergeron will again be at the forefront of everything for a hockey club that's just 60 minutes away from Stanley Cup immortality.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.