TAMPA, Fla. -- As much as it was a relief for the Boston Bruins to have Patrice Bergeron back in the lineup for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Thursday night, it was even more encouraging when he woke up symptom-free Friday morning.
The highly skilled forward missed the first two games of the series against the Tampa Bay Lightning with a concussion, but he showed no ill effects in Game 3. Bergeron participated in the team's optional practice Friday morning at St. Pete Times Forum and afterward said he's feeling good.
"To be honest, I wasn't worried about that. I knew I was back and ready," Bergeron said. "It's good to see."
He admitted it took him a couple of shifts to settle down in Game 3, but it didn't take him long to get his groove back.
"I knew I was ready from the get-go and mentally I was ready as well," Bergeron said.
Even though he missed nearly two weeks with the injury, Bergeron logged almost 20 minutes of ice time in Game 3 and was successful in the faceoff circle, going 18-for-28.
Leading up to Bergeron's return, Bruins coach Claude Julien got tired of giving a daily update on his assistant captain's status, so when asked about it again Friday morning, Julien had a little bit of fun answering the question.
"He's a question mark for Game 4," Julien said with a laugh. "If you see him in the warmup that means he's playing. He's fine."
Joe McDonald covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.