BOSTON — It was agonizing to Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand to watch his team play without him against the Florida Panthers.

So, Marchand made it his mission to get back on the ice no matter how he felt.

The Bruins captain returned for Boston’s 2-1 season-ending loss to the Panthers in Game 6 on Friday at TD Garden after missing the previous two games due to a concussion. But Marchand, who tallied no shots on net in 19:55 of ice time, revealed he wasn’t 100% recovered from his injury.

“I definitely pushed it getting back. Wouldn’t say I was upfront about how I felt,” Marchand said. “But it’s hard to sit out and make the decision to sit out. The only reason I got pulled out of that game, the only reason I was in protocol was because the doctors forced me into it. So, I got through it.”

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Marchand sustained his upper-body injury in Game 3 when he took a controversial hit to the head from Panthers forward Sam Bennett. Marchand went down on the play and was wobbly getting back to the bench. He continued playing until he was pulled before the start of the third period.

Marchand practiced Thursday and was deemed a game-time decision by Jim Montgomery for Game 6. But Marchand wasn’t going to let his health get in his way.

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“You work your entire life to be in a position to play for a Cup,” Marchand said. “I spoke on it the other day a little bit, but to win and to go all the way, you need to be willing to sacrifice things. I don’t mind playing hurt. I don’t care what it is. But to be out there with the guys and to be in an elimination game, you want to be there with the guys. You want to go through it together.

“We’ve built something all year and you want to be part of it, whether you win or you lose, you want to be in there in the fight with the guys and experience every moment because like I said, you never know when you’re going to get it again.”

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Marchand’s presence sparked the Bruins and their home crowd early. Marchand received a thunderous ovation from the fans when he was announced as part of the starting lineup.

He might not have had the statistics to back up his performance, but the impact Marchand made just by being on the ice was felt by his teammates.

“We were telling him to calm it down before warmups because we knew he was going to be flying around out there,” DeBrusk said. “It’s massive. I can’t say enough about that guy. Obviously as a leader, really grown. I think he was always a leader but taking the mantle this year you could tell the progression he was making. It really did give us a boost. We wanted to give him another chance to play.”

Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images