CHICAGO -- The Boston Bruins have been down this road before.
The only question is, will they be able to draw off past experiences in an all-out attempt to win their second Stanley Cup Final in three years?
Back in 2011, the Bruins rallied from a 3-2 series deficit by winning the final two games of the championship round against the Vancouver Canucks by a combined 9-2 score. They did so without the services of wing Nathan Horton, who sustained a frightening upper-body injury in Game 3 that sidelined him the remainder of the series.
The Bruins find themselves in a similar predicament following a 3-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 5 of the Cup Final on Saturday at United Center. The series shifts to TD Garden for Game 6 in Boston on Monday with the Bruins trailing the best-of-7 series, 3-2.
As if that wasn't a big enough hill to climb, it's possible the club may also be without their inspirational offensive leader, Patrice Bergeron, who sustained an undisclosed injury in the second period of Game 5 and was taken to a hospital for further observation. His availability for Monday remains unknown.
If the Bruins can somehow muster a victory on home ice in Game 6, a winner-take-all confrontation will take place Wednesday at United Center.
"We're just worrying about Game 6 right now; we're not going to give [the Blackhawks] anything easily," Bruins center David Krejci said. "If they want the Cup, they're going to have to play hard because we'll be ready and we're playing for a Game 7.
"We've been down this road before ... when we've been missing some key players and other players stepped up. This is the time of the year when other guys have to step up. It's do-or-die for us. We have to force a Game 7."
Boston fourth-line center Rich Peverley said that while that comeback occurred two years ago, it certainly offers hope. It is possible for history to repeat itself.
"I think some experience can be used, but it's a different game and we can't take anything for granted," Peverley said. "It's going to be a battle, and we'll take one game at a time."
The odds would seem to be stacked against the Bruins, but it's interesting to note that the team losing Game 5 has rebounded to win the series on four of the past six occasions -- all since 2001.
The team winning Game 5 has won the Cup 15 times (68.2 percent).
"Game 6 for us now is a must-win," Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask said. "Our season is on the line for the first time in this series and we'll have to play a solid game. I can guarantee it's not going to be because of our effort if we do lose. We're going to throw everything on the table, and see where it takes us."
Boston coach Claude Julien feels his team has done extremely well in the face of adversity during his tenure behind the bench and he expects another fantastic finish -- with or without Bergeron in the lineup.
"We've been there before, and we've done well in that situation," he said. "So we've got to, again, win the next game. Right now our goal is to create a Game 7. We've been good at home, and we need to be good at home in Game 6 ... it's as simple as that.
"Again, there is no panic. You're not going to push us away that easily. We're a committed group, and we plan on bouncing back."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter: @mikemorrealeNHL
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