|Zdeno Chara proved he can still focus better than anyone||03.25.11 at 8:35 am ET|
It would’ve been completely understandable if Zdeno Chara didn’t look himself Thursday night.
There had been so much said and written about his hit on Max Pacioretty on March 8. There were so many league eyes on the rematch between the two rivals. And the Canadiens had every reason to come out and hit Chara and the Bruins hard.
The Bruins, however, weren’t biting and neither was Chara. And the result was a clinic on how to dismantle your opponent.
“We wanted to have a good, strong performance,” Chara said of the battle against the Canadiens, who came in just three points behind the B’s in the Northeast Division. “Montreal is playing well and obviously they’re a good team. But our focus was obviously on our game.
“We tried to obviously play our game and stay focused in our game plan. And every time you get away from that against a team like that, they’re going to make you pay. So like I said, we really tried to stay focused and tried to establish our game plan and play strong. And obviously we got ahead in the first twenty and from that point I thought we handled and controlled the game pretty well.”
Scoring in the first 61 seconds also did a great deal to take the edge off. So did leading 3-0 after 20 minutes. The Bruins systematically took apart the Canadiens on this night in a 7-0 rout.
“I think that just happens when you score obviously early goals,” Chara said of Johnny Boychuk‘s goal at 1:01, the first of three Chara would assist on during the blowout. “In the first 20 [minutes], we got a good lead but we never sat on it. We never tried to just protect the lead. We were obviously going after it and tried to score more goals and continue to play the game we were playing in the first 20 and second 20 and then, the third 20.
As for being tested mentally, Chara knew the Canadiens would hit him. And they did when Mathieu Darche belted Chara in the first period. But Chara took his time and only hit when it was appropriate. And when he did, it was devastatingly effective. Moments after the Darche hit, Chara dumped Travis Moen on the ice with a solid back check that sent the Bruins on a rush the other way.
“I don’t exactly remember the play, but like I said I’m not going to change,” Chara said. “I’m going to still play a physical game. That’s my game. And it’s part of the game to be hitting each other.”
Now, for the time being, Chara and the Bruins can move past the Canadiens and focus on a key stretch of three games coming up – Saturday against the Rangers, Sunday on the road against the Flyers and Tuesday back home against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks.
“That was the first step forward from the previous games,” Chara said. “And obviously now we have two games with a good solid effort. And obviously we know that next opponents we have, Rangers, Flyers, Chicago, is going to be a good challenge for us. So we just got to stay focused and not get too high or too low. We just got to stay nice and humble and get ready for next games.”
|Turns out Claude Julien knew ‘exactly’ what Mark Recchi was doing … and saying||03.24.11 at 11:09 pm ET|
You can count on one hand the number of times in his career Zdeno Chara has needed someone to stand up for him against the opposition.
But a 43-year-old winger who runs about foot shorter than the Bruins 6-foot-9 captain did just that this week and it paid huge dividends in a 7-0 Bruins rout of the Canadiens on Thursday at TD Garden. And he didn’t need to throw a punch, finish a check or swing a stick. Just open his mouth.
Mark Recchi acknowleged he made comments this week critical of Canandiens management and their medical staff to take pressure off Chara. Recchi told a Boston radio station Wednesday that the Canadiens “embellished a little bit” the hit on Max Pacioretty on Mar. 8 that resulted in a concussion for Pacioretty but no suspension for Chara.
“I have to be honest with you guys. I wanted to take the heat off Zee for a day and I’m a big boy,” Recchi said after the game. “I think anyone who knows me, knows that I have great respect for the Montreal organization, I played five years there. I have great respect for Doctor [David] Mulder, the medical staff there. … In 22 years, I’ve respected all my teammates, all the players I play against. My record has shown that.
“I have nothing but great things to say about the Montreal organization, I had five great years there. And it’s still an unfortunate situation it all happened. We all hope Max [Pacioretty] gets a full recovery here soon and we know he’s well on his way. And like I said, this is something that I believe in twenty-two years I’ve been very respectful to players and opponents throughout. So that should be the end of it really.”
Maybe in Boston but not Montreal, where the questions from the media kept coming.
“I’m a big boy and like I said, I’m sorry if it hurt some people, but at the same time, I think everyone knows my reputation for 22 years,” Recchi repeated. “I’m very respectful of teammates, players, organizations and that is not going to change. I felt a need to protect our captain and it’s important. That will be the end of it and you won’t hear anything said by me anymore.
“I took pressure off my captain for one day,” Recchi added. “He deserved it. He earned it.”
Chara certainly appreciated the gesture.
“I obviously don’t know exactly all the comments,” Chara said of Recchi’s radio comments. “But he’s such a great teammate and such a respected guy and leader. It’s a thrill to have him. We all learned so much from him. He’s obviously the next hall-of-famer and such a classy guy. Like I said, I can’t thank him enough to be my teammate and be part of this team, and helping all of us to be better.”
Recchi’s teammates all knew how important Thursday was to Chara.
“It’s been hard for us to sit here and see Zee,” said Gregory Campbell, who got into the only scrape of the night with Paul Mara. “Zee takes things personally, and he’s a good person. He doesn’t like to see anybody get injured. Behind the scenes, it’s a hard thing to handle, and he’s handled it extremely well.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien said he wasn’t surprised since he knows Recchi is a veteran and knows exactly what he’s doing.
“It says a lot because I know what kind of player he is,” Julien said. “I knew exactly what he was doing. You don’t have to speak. He’s 43 years old, he’s a big boy. He can answer for himself. I don’t think I need to coach him on any of that stuff.
“When you see a guy with that kind of experience say something like that, you know what he’s doing. So, there was nothing to be said. Their focus was on the game. He had to say what he had to say for whatever reason. That was something where I didn’t need to ask him that question because I knew exactly what he was doing.”
The Bruins got on the board early, with Johnny Boychuk scoring his second goal of the season at 1:01 of the first period. The Bruins also got first-period tallies from Gregory Campbell and Nathan Horton, with Horton’s tally coming on the power play off a feed from Lucic. Horton would add his second goal of the game at 15:57 of the third period, with Adam McQuaid making it a clean five for the Bruins moments later and sending Price to the Montreal bench in favor of backup Alex Auld. Tomas Kaberle welcomed Auld by scoring his first goal since being acquired by the Bruins on Feb. 18.
Campbell scored a shorthanded goal with the Habs on the two-man advantage in the third period. It made for his first two-goal game as a member of the Bruins.
David Krejci and Chara tied a career-high with three assists, while Lucic’s three assists set a career-high.
Tim Thomas improved to 31-10-8 with the victory, and picked up his career-high eighth shutout of the season. His last shutout came on Jan. 17. His 18 games without a blanking served as teh longest stretch of the season without a shutout.
The game featured only one fight, as Campbell dropped the gloves with Belmont native Paul Mara late in the second period.
With the victory, the Bruins finished the season series with a 2-3-1 record against their rivals. At third and six place in the Eastern Conference, respectively, the teams would meet in the first round of the playoffs if the season were to end Thursday night. The Bruins have nine games remaining in the season and lead the Habs by five points. The Canadiens have seven games remaining in the season.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- As much attention as he’s gotten for the wrong reasons since the March 8 Max Pacioretty hit, Chara hasn’t seen his play take a hit in the slightest. With his three assists, Chara has 10 points (2 G, 8 A) in seven games since the Bruins last faced the Habs.
- Chris Kelly hasn’t exactly been a fan favorite since coming to the B’s prior to the trade deadline, but he had one shift on the penalty kill that probably won a few fans over. Kelly had no problem laying out on the ice to disrupt a P.K. Subban slap shot, and moments later had a shorthanded opportunity that drew a Roman Hamrlik holding call. It wasn’t all roses, as Kelly took a tripping call at 1:35 of the third period, but he might be more valuable to this team than he gets credit for.
- Good to see Tyler Seguin sticking his nose into the more physical areas. The rookie has shied away from contact throughout the season, but he’s clearly more willing to take it on as of late. Seguin even came to the aid of Mark Recchi after the veteran’s tussle with Mara. The rookie exchanged a few shoves with Habs defenseman Brett Sopel after he felt Mike Cammalleri gave him something extra behind the Canadiens net.
- Recchi is now tied for 12th place all-time in points. His assist on Kaberle’s goal put him in a tie with Paul Coffey with 1,531.
- Brad Marchand broke up a seven-game pointless streak in setting up the play that led to Kaberle’s goal and getting an asssist. The rookie had just one point, an assist, in his previous to games. He has still been stuck at 19 goals on the season for over a month. Marchand last scored on Feb. 22 in Calgary.
WHAT BARELY WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- If the Habs weren’t so dead the entire night, they would have had an opportinity to produce the makings of a comeback in the second period while trailing 3-0. After the B’s outshot the Canadiens, 19-8, in the first period, the Habs had some space to work with early in the second. They came out with five shots to the Bruins’ two early in the second, but a Bruins timeout and Montreal penalties doomed their chances of getting anything going.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR CAREY PRICE
- The Bruins don’t match up well with the Habs, but if they meet in the playoffs they have to like their chances against Price at the Garden. The Montreal netminder has allowed 13 goals in his last two Garden appearances, both of which were losses.
|Zdeno Chara has two assists as Bruins lead Habs||at 7:48 pm ET|
Turns out gloves didn’t need to be dropped in order for the Bruins to make a statement, as they lead the Canadiens, 3-0, after one.
Johnny Boychuk opened the scoring at 1:01, scoring his second goal of the season off a rebound from a Zdeno Chara shot. The B’s captain would also get an assist on Gregory Campbell’s tally, and with Boychuk also assisting, both blueliners have multi-point nights. Nathan Horton scored late in the period on the power play after drawing a high-sticking double-minor from Tomas Plekanec.
There were no fights in the period, and the Habs had two penalties to the Bruins’ one. After a bad turnover in his own zone, Dennis Seidenberg tripped Travis Moen in front of Tim Thomas‘ net.With Seidenberg in the box, Chris Kelly had a great shift on the kill, laying out to disrupt a P.K. Subban slapshot and later drawing a Roman Hamrlik hold on a shorthanded bid.
The B’s are outshooting the Habs, 18-9.
|Bruins not focusing on Mark Recchi’s comments||at 5:22 pm ET|
Thursday night’s game between the Bruins and Canadiens has been getting even more attention than usual thanks to Mark Recchi’s recent suggestion that the Habs exaggerated Max Pacioretty’s injury to get B’s captain Zdeno Chara suspended. Milan Lucic made similar comments Wednesday, but prior to the game stressed that the team’s focus is on the game.
“I think the focus, even berfore the war of words is to get the win,” Lucic said. “Whatever Mark said he said. He’s been on the Montreal side before, and now he’s on the Boston side. I don’t think we need to repeat what he said or what I said. As of right now, we’re focused on getting a big win here, and we know it’s a big night for us in the last game of the season [series].
“He’s been in the league for two decades. He’s done more than his fair share of time here, and I feel like he has the right to say whatever he’s going to say. Rex said whatever he felt was right, and our focus is not on anything like that. We’re just going to go out there and play.”
Claude Julien had no interest in answering questions about Recchi’s comments.
“We’re here to play hockey,” the coach said. “That’s all there is to it, and this he-said-she-said stuff and soap opera, I’m not interesting in asnwerign those questions because two hours from now, there’s a big game to be played, and it’s a big two points for both teams. That’s what my focus is on right now.”
|Zdeno Chara reached out to Max Pacioretty after hit||03.23.11 at 2:35 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — To the surprise of nobody, both Boston and Montreal media surrounded Zdeno Chara‘s spot in the dressing room after Bruins’ practice Wednesday. With the B’s and Habs facing off Thursday for the first time since March 8′s 4-1 Canadiens win, the attention naturally turns to the Bruins captain, who was tossed from the game after hitting Habs forward Max Pacioretty into a stanchion.
Chara received major criticism from fans north of the border, and a criminal investigation was even launched into whether the play served as grounds for assault charges. Chara, who was not suspended for the hit, said there might not be a point in trying to change people’s minds.
“It’s tough to really address that,” Chara said. “I don’t know if I should even try. It’s one of those things where they probably are beleiving one thing, and it’s really hard to explain that it just happened.
“I can’t control how they talk about me, or what they say about me. I just try to focus on my game.”
After being initially diagnosed with a severe concussion and a fractured vertebrae, Pacioretty, who said he felt Chara intended to harm him, has not spoken to the Bruins’ captain.
“I made a few attempts,” Chara said. “I’m waiting for some kind of response back, but so far nothing.”
|Zdeno Chara scores on power play to give Bruins lead||03.22.11 at 8:35 pm ET|
The Bruins were plenty to work with in the second period, and they made good on one of the four penalties the Devils took to give them a 2-1 lead entering the third period.
After drawing a Nick Palmieri tripping penalty at 8:08, Zdeno Chara gave the B’s the lead at 8:17 off a nice pass from Milan Lucic. It was the B’s first goal on 5-on-4 play since Feb. 18. The B’s are currently 1-for-3 on the man advantage for the night.
After trailing the Devils in shots on goal by a 12-1 margin at one point in the first period, the B’s battled back in that department and are now being outshot, 24-23. Of course, being on the power play for almost half a period will help to improve those numbers.
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