The Boston Bruins had trouble scoring without Patrice Bergeron in their 3-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday.
They won't win Game 6 without the injured star center, either.
Bergeron played only six minutes in Game 5, leaving with an undisclosed injury, per ESPNBoston.com. The veteran's status for Game 6 is currently up in the air, according to the report.
Bruins coach Claude Julien said, via ESPNBoston.com: "It's just an injury that wasn't able to let him finish the game. He may be in next game. I'm not going there."
The Bruins only managed one goal in Saturday's loss without Bergeron, a third-period goal by Zdeno Chara. The magic that had seen them respond after opponents' goals throughout the playoffs vanished into thin air.
Bergeron's importance to this team cannot be overstated. He tied up Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, then scored the game-winner in overtime. Against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he swung home the winner in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.
His playmaking ability, combined with his excellence in faceoffs and strong defense, is a clear asset for Boston, one that is extremely tough to replace.
In fact, Bruins center Rich Peverley said as much, per Scott Burnside of ESPN.com: "You can’t replace a guy like that. He’s one of the best players in the league at what he does. Obviously we need other guys to step up."
Will the Bruins win Game 6 if Patrice Bergeron is held out?
Of course, the Blackhawks are hoping their star center, Jonathan Toews, is available for Game 6. He's dealing with an upper-body injury, according to coach Joel Quenneville, per NHL.com.
But the Blackhawks appear better equipped to move forward without Toews than the Bruins are without Bergeron.
After all, we all know how explosive Chicago's offense can be (see: Game 4). This is a team that ranked second in the NHL in goals per game in the regular season. Patrick Kane scored two goals on Saturday. Six different Blackhawks scored in the 6-5 overtime thriller in Game 4.
The Bruins got off a series-low 25 shots with Bergeron out for most of Game 5. They also had zero power-play opportunities in the contest. The Blackhawks also predictably won more faceoffs than the Bruins for the first time in the series.
Bergeron is absolutely crucial for the Bruins against the Blackhawks. If he misses Game 6, expect the Bruins to fall, even at the raucous TD Garden.