BOSTON -- What makes Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron such a special leader, one his teammates are so willing to follow into battle, a clutch player who repeatedly comes through on the game's biggest stages?
"That's easy. He's inspirational," Montreal Canadiens coach Claude Julien said Tuesday in a phone interview. "Whether you're a coach, a teammate or a fan, his influence rubs off on you.
"Even [the] St. Louis [Blues] would say they'd take Patrice Bergeron on their side. I don't think there's any doubt about that."
[RELATED: Complete Stanley Cup Final coverage]
Julien would know. He coached Bergeron with the Bruins from 2007-17, a span when Boston won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and reached the Cup Final in 2013.
Julien saw Bergeron score two goals in Boston's 4-0 victory against the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of the 2011 Cup Final. Two years later, he watched Bergeron play with a punctured lung in Game 6 of the Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks.
"And now he's doing it again," Julien said. "Inspiring his teammates. It's what he does."
Julien was referring to a speech Bergeron gave prior to Game 6 of the Cup Final against St. Louis on Sunday. Trailing 3-2 in the best-of-7 series, the Bruins went out and defeated the host Blues 5-1, forcing a winner-takes-all Game 7 at TD Garden on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).
Video: Bruins discuss playing at home in Game 7 of the SCF
It was crunch time for the Bruins. They needed a leader to step up. Enter Bergeron.
It's what he does.
"I know he stood up in the dressing room the other night to address his team, and I wasn't surprised at all," Julien said. "He picks the right times to stand up and talk where guys are listening. He doesn't do it all the time, because if you do it, just like when coaches talk, you do it too much and it goes in one ear and out the other. He's got that ability, that quality to do it right.
"Everybody knew that it was either win or go home. But he brought it to the next level. I'm sure he didn't just tell them how important it was to win, but why they want to win and what it represents. You might be 21, 22 (years old), but you might never have this chance again. You can use examples of guys who were great players who didn't win the Cup, like Marcel Dionne. And when he speaks, he's thought about it. He knows what he's going to say and the impact he has.
"He knows how to talk, and knowing how to play through pain, there are no excuses; you just play through it."
Julien pointed to Game 6 of the 2013 Cup Final as being the stuff of legends.
Video: It All Comes Down To This. Game 7
Bergeron had a rib injury that included a cartilage tear and caused a punctured lung, to go with a separated shoulder. The injuries landed Bergeron in a Chicago hospital following Game 5, and he went to a Boston hospital after the series concluded with the Bruins' 3-2 loss in Game 6.
"Game 6 against Chicago, he should have never played," Julien said. "But when the medical staff cleared him, you weren't going to hold him back. By the end of the game, he'd punctured his lung. That's the type of guy he is. If you are one of his teammates right now and know that story, how can you not go all out for a guy like that?
"We were up 2-1 in that game and ended up losing when they scored twice in the final 76 seconds. We looked like we were going to Game 7, and if we did, he wasn't going to play. He'd punctured his lung. But he'd given everything he had, and he inspired. He'd given everything he could to get us to a Game 7. Even as a coaching staff, you're inspired. You want 20 of those guys.
"He has the power where he can bring those guys up to his level like he did the other night in St. Louis."
Video: BOS@STL, Gm3: Bergeron buries PPG to open scoring
Bergeron will be looking to do exactly that in Game 7.
He's won pretty much everything there is to be won in the sport. In addition to winning the Cup with the Bruins in 2011, his trophy case features gold medals from two Olympics (2010, 2014), and he played for Canada when it won the 2004 IIHF World Championship, the 2005 IIHF World Junior Championship and the World Cup of Hockey in 2016.
What Bergeron has learned from those experiences is to make the most of the stage you are about to step on.
"Enjoy. Soak it in. Those moments are so important to enjoy," he said Tuesday.
Listen: Game 7 preview from NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast