How Bruins’ Rookies Played Crucial Role In Game 7 Win Over Maple Leafs

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BOSTON — Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci have waited four years to win a playoff series in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and they attribute a lot of the teams’ Game 7 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs to the young core.

“They always find a way to step up,” Bergeron said after the game. “It’s a special group.”

One particular rookie who had a strong game was Jake DeBrusk, who played a crucial role in the Bruins’ 7-4 victory Wednesday night. “Jake stepped up with big goals,” Bergeron said. DeBrusk had two goals on the night, including the game-tying and tie-breaking goal.

Danton Heinen also had a goal for Boston in the first period to tie the game at two while Charlie McAvoy made his presence known on the ice, accounting for two hits in 26:43 of ice time.

Head coach Bruce Cassidy liked what he saw from Heinen, saying he thought it was his “hardest game on the puck in a long time.”

Bergeron, who’s been with Boston since he was drafted by the team in the 2003 NHL Draft, likes what he sees in the young players.

“The character these young guys have is special,” Bergeron said. “And it’s fun for us as veterans to help.”

Cassidy agreed, saying every rookie seems to have a veteran on their line for support, and he said the strong play from the young guys is because they want to learn from their “big brothers.”

“We’re not here without the core (veteran) group, obviously,” Cassidy said after the game. “We’ve supplemented them well with some good young guys that can play and that are respectful.

You could be good, but if you don’t want to learn, the veteran guys, after a while, will say, ‘Hey if this guy doesn’t want it, then we’ll just move along.”

Part of helping the young core Wednesday was the veteran players giving a pep talk before the start of the third period, and the message was simple:

“I believe, we all believe that we could do it and find a way (to win),” Bergeron said.

The Bruins found their way to a second-round date with the Tampa Bay Lightning, which will begin Saturday at 3:00 p.m.

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