BOSTON -- As soon as Charlie Coyle heard that he was going to be traded -- to a Stanley Cup contender, he was told -- he started to believe. And when the forward found out that he was heading to the Boston Bruins, his hometown team and the place where his family still lives, he thought it might just be meant to be.
"When I found out it was Boston, that's the first thing you think of, is I think this team has the team to do something and go far here," Coyle said. "I know these guys had that mindset all year. I think that's why you get to this point.
"When I came in -- what were they on? -- a 19-game [point] streak? So I'm walking into that. I'm like, hopefully I don't take anything away from it. I just want to add to it and play my game with them. But I was excited right from the start. I knew the potential was there, definitely."
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That potential has almost been met with the Bruins having advanced to the Stanley Cup Final, which begins May 27 at TD Garden against either the San Jose Sharks or St. Louis Blues. The Blues lead the best-of-7 Western Conference Final 3-2 heading into Game 6 in St. Louis on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS).
Coyle arrived from the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 20, five days before the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline, acquired for forward Ryan Donato and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft that became a fourth-round pick when the Bruins made the Eastern Conference Second Round. The Bruins were in the midst of that 19-game point streak, which lasted from Jan. 29 to March 10, when they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins after a 15-0-4 run.
Having grown up in East Weymouth, Mass., about a half hour south of Boston, he was well acquainted with the Bruins and their expectations.
Video: Coyle scores twice in Bruins' OT win in Game 1
"I didn't think about [the pressure] too much," Coyle said. "I want to come in, it's going to be a change of scenery for me, new kind of fresh start with a great team and just want to play my game. So it made it easy in a way, just to come in and feel it out and try to build my game."
It didn't click immediately, at least not in terms of point production. Through the end of the regular season, Coyle had six points (two goals, four assists) in 21 games. But the Stanley Cup Playoffs have been a different story, with the center scoring 12 points (six goals, six assists) in 17 games and solidifying the Bruins' third line.
And even though Coyle thought this could all happen, believed in his new team and teammates, that doesn't make it any less surreal that it has come true.
"It's been crazy," Coyle said. "It seems like it's gone by quick, like it just happened, I'm still getting acclimated and you're already thrown in a high-pressure situation, Stanley Cup Final now. Just crazy how fast the year has gone and then when this all happened -- I'm enjoying it, it's a lot of fun. But it's just been flying by. Really just trying to take it all in, take it day by day and just enjoy it, because it goes fast."
During the postseason, he's heard from more family and more friends, more text messages to coincide with more people watching and paying attention, those with whom he went to high school and college -- at Boston University -- and grew up alongside.
Video: CBJ@BOS, Gm1: Coyle pots one-timer to tie it up
That has been a consistent reminder of where he is.
Coyle is no newcomer to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Wild had reached the playoffs in every season of his NHL career, starting in 2012-13, giving him 44 games of postseason experience prior to the trade with Boston. But the Wild never made it beyond the second round, getting that far in 2014 and 2015.
That made this season the first chance for Coyle to experience a conference final and, now, a Cup Final, which he's still trying to wrap his mind around.
"It was just setting in that I'm playing here, finally," Coyle said. "I don't even know that it has. Then, on top of it, playing in the Stanley Cup Final, that really hasn't sunk in yet."