BOSTON -- Brad Marchand returned to the lineup for the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round on Friday.

Marchand, who has missed the past two games because of an upper-body injury, started the game on a line with center Charlie Coyle and right wing Trent Frederic. The Bruins trail the best-of-7 series 3-2. 

Marchand had not played since Game 3, a 6-2 loss May 10, after taking a high hit from Panthers center Sam Bennett in the first period, falling to the ice and crashing into the boards. He played the rest of the first and the second period but did not come out for the third period.

He also missed Game 4, a 3-2 loss, and Game 5, a 2-1 win that kept Boston’s season alive.

Marchand practiced with Coyle and Frederic and took his usual spot on the Bruins’ first power-play unit at practice at Warrior Ice Arena on Thursday.

Montgomery said the fact that the Bruins had two days off between Games 5 and 6 was a major factor in Marchand’s potential availability for Game 6.

“We’ve missed him. We’ve missed his energy," Frederic said Friday. "We’ve missed everything he brings on the ice, his leadership. Our practices, you see it. Our practices are better when ‘Marsh’ is there. He raises the level, every time.”

Marchand, who has three goals and a Bruins-best seven assists in 10 games this postseason, said he believes Bennett “got away with a shot,” but also said it comes with the territory in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"[Bennett] plays hard, he’s an extremely physical player for their group. I think he got away with a shot, but I’m not going to complain,” Marchand said. “[Stuff] happens. That’s part of especially playoff hockey. I’ve been on the other side of a lot of plays. I think he got away with one, but that’s part of the game. Definitely part of playoff hockey. It [stinks] to be on the other side of it. But that stuff happens.

“It's the hardest trophy to win. You're playing, you're willing to sacrifice your body and willing to hurt other guys and do whatever it takes to win. If you don't like it, then don't play in the playoffs. It’s the best time of the year, and if I have to get hurt to win or if I have to hurt someone to win, I don’t care. That’s part of it, and I’m not going to complain because if I’m [Bennett], I’m doing the same thing."

Marchand, who is in his 15th NHL season, all with Boston, and first as Bruins captain, traveled with the team to Florida for Game 5 in an effort to stay connected with the group and help ease the pain of not playing.

The Bruins hung Marchand's jersey at his locker stall as a source of motivation to extend the series, and multiple players expressed how important his presence is to the group, on and off the ice.

“He’s our leader, obviously,” forward Jake DeBrusk said Friday morning. “If he’s back, I think that it just brings a vocal guy back on the bench. Obviously his skill set speaks for itself. I think it’s one of those things where he does a lot of things differently for this team when it comes to special teams and even 5-on-5, so to have back a really quality player like that and a leader of our team, only helps your group.”

When asked to quantify what Marchand means to the Bruins, Montgomery said it’s impossible.

“You can’t put a number on it, percentage wise,” Montgomery said. “You can’t put a number on it emotionally. He’s our leader, he’s our captain, he’s our heart and soul. How do you put a number on that?” staff writer Amalie Benjamin contributed to this report