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Dougie Hamilton puts up three points as Zdeno Chara-less Bruins cruise past Maple Leafs

10.25.14 at 9:50 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton had a goal and two assists Saturday. (Getty Images)

Dougie Hamilton had a goal and two assists Saturday. (Getty Images)

The Zdeno Chara-less Bruins passed their first test with flying colors.

Dougie Hamilton had a three-point night and the Bruins played one of their better defensive games of the season in beating the Maple Leafs, 4-1, at Air Canada Centre Saturday. Tuukka Rask‘s shutout bid was broken up when Richard Panik scored during a delayed penalty at 14:27 of the third period.

Carl Soderberg opened the scoring for Boston, scoring a power play goal for his third tally of the season at 3:27 of the first period. With the assist on Soderberg’s goal, Patrice Bergeron registered his 500th career point.

That score would hold up until David Krejci went to the net hardly contested by Phil Kessel and beat Jonathan Bernier on the rebound of his own shot at 15:58 of the second.

With the Bruins killing an Adam McQuaid penalty in the third, Daniel Paille stole a puck from Dion Phaneuf in the Toronto zone and sent it to Gregory Campbell in front, who made it 3-0. Hamilton made it 4-0 just 1:38 later after outracing Jake Gardiner and another Toronto defender and fired a wrist shot over the glove of Bernier, ending the Toronto starter’€™s night.

With the win, the Bruins evened their record to 5-5-0 on the season. The B’€™s will next play Tuesday when they host the Wild at TD Garden.

Here are some notes from the game:

– Hamilton had a particularly strong game for Boston, picking up an assist in each of the first two periods before scoring in the third. Though his helper on Soderberg’€™s goal game as a result of a lucky bounce, Hamilton made a good decision to race after a missed pass from Loui Eriksson from Patrice Bergeron down low. Hamilton moved up to get the puck at the right circle, seemingly breaking his stick on the shot as the puck trickled to Bergeron, whose bid then went off Stuart Percy on its way to Soderberg on the doorstep.

– Speaking of Hamilton, it appeared that Rask was barking at the defenseman after Panik scored in front of the net. On Hamilton’€™s next shift, he was extra-physical with James van Riemsdyk when the Leafs winger went to the net. Both players were assessed roughing minors.

Dennis Seidenberg led the team with 25:59 of ice time, which was far and away tops on the team. Hamilton was second with 22:31.

– The game gave Krejci a six-game point streak. After being kept off the score sheet in his first game of the season, Krejci now has three goals and five assists for eight points over the last six contests.

– The Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid pairing was Boston’€™s third pairing to begin the season, but without Chara, everyone has to step up. That was apparent in the first period, when Krug’€™s pairing played against Phil Kessel on four of Kessel’€™s seven 5-on-5 shifts.

– Zach Trotman made his season debut, skating on the third defensive pairing with Matt Bartkowski. The lineup was as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Griffith
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Kelly – Soderberg- Eriksson
Paille – Campbell – Gagne

Seidenberg – Hamilton
Krug – McQuaid
Bartkowski – Trotman

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Dougie Hamilton has injury scare a day after Bruins lose Zdeno Chara for month

10.24.14 at 1:19 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton

The Bruins can’€™t afford to lose another top defensemen ‘€” they’€™ve really only got two left ‘€” so things looked pretty scary in Friday’€™s practice when Dougie Hamilton appeared to be in serious pain after getting hit in the right hand with a shot.

After getting hit, Hamilton took his glove off and grimaced for a few minutes as he repeatedly shook his hand. He resumed drills, but shook his hand after each turn and repeatedly went to the bench to get checked on by a trainer.

Following the practice, Hamilton said that his hand was OK, but there was a big red mark where the puck had clearly hit him. The fact that he finished practice is a good sign that the B’€™s survived the scare.

Hamilton skated on the team’s top pairing with Dennis Seidenberg in Friday’s practice. He has been used as Zdeno Chara‘s partner this season, but Chara is out for at least a month due to a torn PCL.

The pairings in practice were as follows:

Seidenberg – Hamilton
Krug – McQuaid
Bartkowski – Trotman


Read More: Dougie Hamilton, Zdeno Chara,

Peter Chiarelli says Zdeno Chara (torn PCL) doesn’t need surgery, Bruins recall Zach Trotman and Joe Morrow

10.24.14 at 11:42 am ET
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Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday morning that Zdeno Chara‘€™s injury is a torn posterior cruciate ligament that will keep him out for four to six weeks. Chiarelli said that surgery for Chara is not a likely option.

The Bruins also recalled defensemen Joe Morrow and Zach Trotman from Providence Friday. Chiarelli said that the multiple defensemen callup was partially due to “a couple of little things” players are battling, but that he thinks “it will be OK.”

Chiarelli hinted that he will not look to the trade market for a replacement for Chara, responding to such a question with “four to six weeks, we’€™ll have him back.”

The B’€™s GM also said that Chara could return before the four-week mark, and that the four-to-six week window was a conservative estimate. He confirmed that the injury was suffered when Chara hit Islanders captain John Tavares in the first period of Thursday’s game.

The Bruins’ defensive pairings in Friday’s practice were as follows:

Seidenberg – Hamilton
Krug – McQuaid
Bartkowski – Trotman

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Johnny Boychuk has an ‘interesting’ return to Boston

10.24.14 at 1:41 am ET
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The toughest part of Thursday night’s return to Boston for Johnny Boychuk came during the national anthem.

“Just feeling the atmosphere and being back on the ice,” Boychuk said. “I tried not to look anywhere but just concentrate, and be prepared for the game. That was the most difficult part, but after the first couple shifts, then it’€™s time to get going.”

Boychuk was a plus-1 in 23 minutes and 25 shifts in the Islanders’ 3-2 win over the his former team at TD Garden. Only one of his “Johnny Rockets” found its way on net and it was stopped. He had two blocked shots and two giveaways. Boychuk did not figure in the scoring but was just happy to be apart of a night of appreciation from the Bruins fans who had watched him grow up in Boston.

“It was an interesting night,” Boychuk said. “You’€™re playing against that team, and you grew up with them, playing, for the last six years, you see them and you’€™re the opposition now. Looch [Milan Lucic] steamrolled me, so I’€™ll get a nice chuckle out of that when I see him. They’€™re a good team. We came in here, we were determined, and we held them off in the last five minutes. They had some good chances, but the other ex-Bruin [Chad Johnson] made some great saves for us, and kept us in the game when we needed it.”

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic, New York Islanders

Bruins try to make do without ‘irreplaceable’ Zdeno Chara for a while

10.24.14 at 12:32 am ET
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If there’s any silver lining to losing your captain and best defenseman for an indefinite period, the Bruins can take some comfort in the fact they’ve been down this road before.

The Bruins lost Dennis Seidenberg to a torn ACL last season. They lost Chris Kelly to a broken leg last December and a back injury just before the playoffs. The 2013 team made the Stanley Cup finals despite the loss of Gregory Campbell to a broken leg in the Eastern Conference finals. Just last week, Kevan Miller dislocated his shoulder in a fight in Buffalo and has been lost indefinitely.

But when Islanders forward John Tavares’ right knee collided with Chara’s left knee Thursday night in the B’s 3-2 loss, there was the sense that Boston’s captain could be out a while early on in a season when the Bruins are struggling to find their identity.

That sense was apparent when talking to Bruins players in the dressing room afterward.

“He’€™s an irreplaceable player, so obviously him not being out there, everyone notices, us and them,” Kelly said.

But Kelly insisted that Boston’s flat second period Thursday had nothing to do with Boston getting outscored 2-0 and looking listless on the ice.

“I don’€™t think so. They were ready right from the opening faceoff and we weren’t,” Kelly said. “Like I said, he’€™s an irreplaceable player. He plays every situation for us and he’€™s our leader. We’€™re going to need to fill that void collectively as a group not just one guy is going to be able to do that.

“I though we played desperate, but they were up 3-1. They may have set back a little bit and we pushed the pace. Yeah, the third period was better but like I said, 20 minutes isn’t good enough to win hockey games.”

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Chris Kelly, Dennis Seidenberg, Zdeno Chara

Report: Zdeno Chara out at least 4-6 weeks with left knee injury

10.23.14 at 11:25 pm ET
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Zdeno Chara left Thursday’€™s game between the Bruins and Islanders in the first period did not return. Following the game, Claude Julien gave no update on Chara’s status, but former Bruin and current TSN analyst Aaron Ward reported that Chara will be out for at least 4-6 weeks with a left knee injury.

Chara played only five shifts, the last of which lasted 1:06. Chara did not appear to be hurt at any point during the shift, though he did land a big open-ice hit on Islanders captain John Tavares. After a TV timeout, Chara stayed on the ice to finish his shift.

Earlier in the game, Chara saw a Josh Bailey pass beat both himself and Dougie Hamilton on its way to Frans Nielsen, who backhanded the puck into the net. The goal marked the fourth time this season that Chara and Patrice Bergeron have been on the ice for a five-on-five goal against.

We’ll have more on Chara’€™s status as it becomes available.

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Zdeno Chara leaves as Islanders beat Bruins in Johnny Boychuk’s return

10.23.14 at 9:30 pm ET
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The Bruins’€™ latest lost hurt more than usual, as Zdeno Chara left Thursday’€™s 3-2 loss to the Islanders after just five shifts in the first period.

The team announced at the start of the second period that Chara would not be retuning to the game, though they did not specify why. With Chara out, the B’€™s were forced to play with five defensemen the rest of the way.

Chara and Dougie Hamilton were both beaten in front early on in the night as Frans Nielsen took a pass from Josh Bailey and put it behind Niklas Svedberg at 6:21 of the first. Milan Lucic answered back with his first goal of the season, which came off a nice play from linemate Seth Griffith.

The Bruins struggled mightily in the second period, with Kyle Okposo scoring on a particularly rough shift from Matt Bartkowski and Cal Clutterbuck later capitalizing on poor coverage from Boston’€™s third line to make it 3-1.

The third line would make it up, however, as Chris Kelly won an offensive zone faceoff and jumped on a loose puck after a Carl Soderberg shot bounced off Brian Strait and into the slot. Kelly fired it into the net for his second goal of the season, bringing the B’€™s within a goal.

The Bruins proceeded to put forth a feverish comeback bid, spending long stretches in the offensive zone with good looks, but they were unable to out a game-tying goal past former B’s netminder Chad Johnson.

The game marked the return of former Bruin Johnny Boychuk to the Garden. Boychuk received a standing ovation during a first-period video tribute.

With the loss, the Bruins are now 4-5-0 on the season.

Here are some notes from the game:

– Chara played only five shifts, the last of which lasted 1:06. He didn’€™t appear to be hurt at any point during the shift, though he did land a big open-ice hit on Islanders captain John Tavares. After a TV timeout, Chara stayed on the ice to finish his shift.

– Chara was actually having his second consecutive rough game before exiting the game. He was on the ice for a 5-on-5 goal against (Bailey’€™s goal) with Bergeron on the ice for the second straight game and had a minus-10 even strength Corsi in his five shifts on the night.

– It was also another bad night for Patrice Bergeron, who was a minus-2 and could have been a minus-3 if Okposo made more of the opportunity that arose when Bergeron whiffed on a puck high in the offensive zone to send the play the other way.

– Matt Bartkowski had just a woeful shift on Okposo’€™s goal. After Tavares lost him deep in the zone, Bartkowski went to the net, leaving Bergeron to take Tavares. As has become a recurring theme, Bartkowski lost track of the guy going to the net, and Okposo was unencumbered as he stood feet from Bartkowski and batted the rebound from Tavares’€™ shot past Svedberg.

– Having to play with five defensemen when Chara isn’€™t one of them isn’€™t something Boston’€™s struggling defense is at all suited for. Bartkowski was also on the ice for Cal Clutterbuck’€™s goal, as the B’€™s got burned with a pair of Bartkowski and Torey Krug in their own end. The blown coverage on the play, however, fell on a forward in Loui Eriksson.

– Seth Griffith is fitting in more and more with each game. He made a nice play on Lucic’€™s goal, taking a pass from Krejci as the line entered the zone and throwing a pass towards the net from the high in the zone. With Lucic driving to the net with Cal Clutterbuck, the puck went off either Lucic’€™s skate or stick and beat Johnson. The play gave Griffith a two-game point-streak (one goal, one assist) since re-entering the lineup Tuesday.

– The Bruins obviously had to mix and match on defense once Chara left the game, but here was the lineup to begin the game:

Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Lucic – Krejci – Griffith
Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille – Campbell – Gagne

Chara – Hamilton
Seidenberg – Krug
Bartkowski – McQuaid


Read More: Zdeno Chara,
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