The Boston Bruins were "terrified" of their season ending as they came up with a big win to keep the Stanley Cup Final "rollercoaster" going, Charlie McAvoy said.
The Bruins won 5-1 away at the St Louis Blues in Game 6 on Sunday to level the series at 3-3 and take it to a decider back in Boston on Wednesday.
And the pressure of facing elimination with a game to spare was enough to inspire McAvoy and his team-mates on the road.
"We're a family, we believe in each other and we all love each other," he told reporters. "Just the thought of it being over tonight was terrifying.
"We've come all this way and we come together when it matters - I think tonight was just a good example of that.
"We're thankful that we're blessed with the chance to play in Game 7 now. It's going to be the same thing; it's a rollercoaster and you've just got to ride it."
Long-serving star center Patrice Bergeron also proved a motivating factor with a pre-game team talk.
"Patrice stepped up. He stepped up big time, [saying] it was within us," McAvoy said. "It was exactly what we needed.
"It was an element of [how] growing up, every one of us shared the same dream, we were all a little kid once and we all wanted this. It was an element of saving this moment and not letting it end tonight.
"It was exactly what we needed. He stepped up and when he talks, you listen."
Blues coach Craig Berube conceded his team could have played better but insisted it was not the pressure of potentially clinching their first title that saw St Louis beaten.
"I thought we handled [the pressure] fine," he said.
"They got a five-on-three goal, unlucky when we're trying to clear it and it goes out. I thought it was an even game really, two periods of tight hockey, there was not a lot of room out there.
"I'll credit Boston, they played well, checked well, they didn't give us a ton of room out there. I don't think we gave them much either.
"Can we play better? Yeah, we can play better. I thought we handled the pressure pretty well, though; I didn't think that was an issue."
Staying confident, Berube added: "If you told me four months ago that we were going to be in the Finals, Game 7, I think I'd take it.
"We've been a good road team, we've won twice up there in this series, so we're a confident group."
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