CHICAGO — After dropping Game 5 by a 3-1 score, the Bruins must now win two straight to claim the Stanley Cup.
At best, they must do so with their alternate captain at less than 100 percent. At worst, they might be without arguably their most important all-around player.
During the second intermission, Patrice Bergeron was transported via ambulance to a local hospital because of an undisclosed injury. Coach Claude Julien did not offer any information after the loss.
“He’s getting evaluated right now,” Julien said. “Not much I can say on the situation.”
Bergeron was injured during his first shift of the second period. He appeared to pull up lame and cut his shift short. Bergeron remained on the bench, bending over repeatedly while appearing to be in discomfort.
Bergeron took one more shift approximately halfway through the second period, but it didn’t last long. He left the ice and remained on the bench for the rest of the period, and did not return. His status for Monday’s Game 6 at TD Garden is unknown.
“I’ll update you when I have an update,” Julien said when pressed on Bergeron’s condition. “There’s nothing more. You can ask a million questions. I don’t have any more information than you guys probably do right now.”
Bergeron played only two shifts for 0:49 of ice time in the second period. Once Bergeron departed, Carl Soderberg took over his shifts on the second line between Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr.
Jonathan Toews, Bergeron’s well-rounded counterpart, will also not be at full health if he plays Game 6. Johnny Boychuk rocked Toews in the second period. Toews played only 12:56.
“It’s not just this series. It’s also the series before. Guys are banged up,” David Krejci said. “It’s been a short season. Forty-eight games, but no break. We basically played every other day. At the end of the season, it’s catching up to you. You can see guys have been struggling a little bit. Once you’re in the Final, you just try to leave everything on the ice. There’s nothing to save energy for.”
The Bruins were in trouble by the time Bergeron was leaving the rink. They were down, 2-0, after 40 minutes, with both goals snapping off the stick of Patrick Kane.
Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the team’s ace shutdown duo, were on the ice for both of Kane’s goals. Chara and Seidenberg did not play together again after the second period.
The Chara-Seidenberg pairing had been one of the Bruins’ assets throughout the playoffs. They took most of the shifts against Phil Kessel. They made Rick Nash an afterthought. They kept Evgeni Malkin and James Neal off the scoresheet.
But by Saturday’s third period, Chara had been on the ice for seven of Chicago’s last eight goals.
“I’m not here to talk about myself,” Chara said when asked about his performance.
At the start of the third period, Chara was paired with Boychuk. Seidenberg skated on Andrew Ference’s right side.
“No reason,” Julien said. “We split them every once in a while. There’s no real specific reason. Johnny was playing well. It depends on who’s on the other team’s lines. With Toews not [playing], they had two different looks at times. We just put the pairs together, pairs that have played together before.”
At 17:27 of the opening period, Kane scored his first goal. Chicago scored after transitioning rapidly from defense to offense.
At one end, Corey Crawford sticked aside a Chara one-timer. Moments later, the Blackhawks rushed the puck through center ice and into the offensive zone. After Toews fought off a Milan Lucic backcheck, the captain got the puck to Johnny Oduya at the point. Toews then went straight for the net.
Oduya’s slap shot shattered Seidenberg’s stick, then hopped off Toews’s blade. Rask, who had gone down to stop Oduya’s shot, couldn’t readjust after the caroms. Kane found the loose puck and jammed it in at 17:27.
Kane doubled the lead at 5:13 of the second. Oduya started the play in the defensive zone. An instant before Lucic stapled him to the end boards, Oduya chipped the puck off the wall to Bryan Bickell. The Bruins, slack in the neutral zone, gave up a speedy three-on-two rush.
Rask stopped Bickell’s first shot. But Bickell wheeled around the net, scooped up his rebound, and found Kane in front. Kane scored on a backhander.
It was the nature of Kane’s goals that troubled the Bruins. The Bruins didn’t have bodies in front to clear out Kane. The Bruins gave the slippery wing too much space. Kane and first-line mates Bickell and Toews burned the Bruins for their shortcomings.
“He’s very good at finding those quiet areas and sliding into the right spots,” Julien said of Kane. “That’s why he’s a good player and scores a lot of goals.”
The Bruins pushed back in the third. Chara scored at 3:40 to make it a 2-1 game. After taking a pass down the wall from Lucic, Krejci set up behind the Chicago net to consider his options. Krejci spotted Chara open at the top of the left circle.
Chara hammered a slap shot over Crawford’s glove to spark the rally.
“Once we got that first goal, you noticed that the game started to change,” Boychuk said. “We started to force them. We did a good job. We had to bury that second one to tie it up.”
But the Bruins couldn’t find the equalizer. Dave Bolland scored an empty-net goal at 19:46.
The Cup will be at the Garden on Monday. The Bruins do not want to see it appear on home ice.