Boston — When the Boston Bruins take the ice against the St. Louis Blues, they will do it with a core group of veterans who know what it’s like to hoist the Stanley Cup — and have it slip from their fingers.
Patrice Bergeron can still remember the instant euphoria and accompanying adoration from across New England that came after the Bruins outlasted the Vancouver Canucks in seven games to win the Cup in 2011.
He just as easily recalls the emptiness in 2013 when the Bruins lost the final in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks.
“I think it makes you appreciate and makes you understand how hard it is to get to this point,” Bergeron said.
He is one of five current Bruins that were on both of those teams, along with Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask, David Krejci and Zdeno Chara.
Apart from Chara, who was 33 in 2011, Bergeron, Krejci, Marchand and Rask were all in their 20s during both runs.
Defenseman Torey Krug (Michigan State) was as a member of the ’ 13 team that came up short, arriving the season after Boston won it in 2011.
Nine years later Chara is now 42 and the 20-somethings are now grizzled NHL veterans as they prepare to take on the upstart Blues.
It’s cast them all in the leadership role for another youthful and hungry Bruins team, built with many players about to experience this stage for the first time with Game 1 of the finals coming up Monday night.
Game 2 is Wednesday night in Boston before moving to St. Louis for two games on Saturday and Monday.
Chara said this season has been a great teaching tool for them.
“It takes a lot to just get into the playoffs,” Chara said.
“We saw a lot of our games went to Game 7.
“First round. Second round. You have to realize how special it is to be in the final and what it takes.
“At the same time, you haven’t accomplished anything. You haven’t won anything.”