Bruins

Notes: Chara looks better in return to the ice

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Notes: Chara looks better in return to the ice

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

MONTREAL While Zdeno Chara was on the ice for both Montreal goals and looked understandably lethargic while attempting to stop whirling dervish Andrei Kostitsyn in the second period, there was no doubt Chara was a huge difference-maker for the Bruins in their 4-2 victory at the Bell Centre in Game Three.

Charas long shot wide of the net set up Nathan Hortons second goal of the first period, and the 6-foot-9 defenseman soaked 26:20 of ice time against the high-flying Canadiens less than 72 hours after being hospitalized for what the Bruins are calling severe dehydration.

Chara looked fairly hydrated while racking up three hits and three blocked shots along with an assist and a pair of shots on net, and played his usually stalwart role on both the penalty kill and power play.

"We knew the importance of this game, and we approached it that way, said Chara following the game. "I was just happy with the result tonight, and we've got to get ready for the next one.

The big defenseman wouldnt reveal exactly what was bothering him other than to say he wasnt feeling well, and that he felt much better Monday after some rest and proper hydration.

"Obviously, I wasn't feeling well, said Chara. "I tried to play Saturday. We decided not to. Obviously I had another 24 hours to recover, and all day today. I felt much better today.

"I wanted to play in the game before that, but obviously I knew it wouldn't be a smart decision for the team. I was really anxious to be in the lineup tonight.

Perhaps a little bit of the fatigue set in on Chara at points, and that might have played into the difficulty shifting from one leg to the other as Kostitsyn raced around him for Montreals first goal. But that was a brief black mark on a very positive night for Chara returning to the playoffs. Claude Julien paired Chara with Dennis Seidenberg prior to the game, and that seemed to work for both individuals in over 50 minutes of ice time together.

Hes a big part of our hockey club. You can ask anybody and hes not a very fun guy to play against. Hes arguably the strongest guy in the league, and that makes him such a tough matchup said Julien. After the warmup he felt like he could go, so we had him play. We went in deciding we were going to gauge him period by period, and he was really doing well taking in all of the ice time that we were giving him.

We thought it would be a good change for us to pair Chara and Seidenberg. Those are guys that can log a lot of minutes. We thought they could be a really solid pair for us, and they were. Johnny Boychuk played his best game, Andrew Ference was solid and I really thought our D was much better tonight than the first two games.

Bruins hopped on a bus following the game and took the two-hour drive to Lake Placid, New York for practice days on Tuesday and Wednesday. The players seemed to enjoy the idea of getting away from Habs country for a couple of days after a raucous night at the Bell Centre, and Tim Thomas in particular was really excited about checking out the setting for the 1980 US hockey team Miracle on Ice.

I think it's a good idea to just kind of get away, relax, a little bit more quiet environment, and for myself personally I'll be happy to look around and see a lot of the things from the 1980 Olympics," said Thomas, who captured a silver medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver with Team USA.

Bruins defenseman Shane Hnidy and center Tyler Seguin were the healthy scratches for the Bruins after taking part in the pregame warm-up at the Bell Centre. Hnidy played in Zdeno Charas absence during Game 2 on Saturday night.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Morning Skate: Payroll mess at the heart of Bruins' problems

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Morning Skate: Payroll mess at the heart of Bruins' problems

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while battening down the hatches for Thanksgiving week.
 
-- When longtime Bruins follower Clark Booth opines about the Black and Gold, I tend to listen. And he's not happy with the Bruins' salary cap situation at this point in time. It should be noted that this was written before they won the last two games. But some of those truths still remain self-evident when it comes to the B’s.

-- Kevin Bieksa will never stop talking about former teammate Rick Rypien, or about the factors that ultimately led to his tragic passing.
 
-- Alex Ovechkin is truly living up to the “Russian Machine Never Breaks” mantra these days, which led to the creation of an entire blog about the Capitals.
 
-- This Saturday Night Live skit with Chance the Rapper playing a clueless hockey reporter was funny, even to people that have been covering the league for 20 years and still struggle to pronounce a name like Brady Skjei.
 
-- The good, the bad and the ugly courtesy of FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mitch Melnick from last night’s Montreal blowout loss to the Maple Leafs that probably could have just been called the ugly, the ugly and the ugly.
 
-- It’s 20 games into the season, and the Buffalo Sabres media are wondering what’s wrong with their team, and star Jack Eichel.
 
-- For something completely different: It sounds like some of the NFL rank-and-file players want to know why Roger Goodell deserves $50 million and a lifetime private plane.

Talking Points: DeBrusk provides energy in win

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Talking Points: DeBrusk provides energy in win

GOLD STAR: Jake DeBrusk gave the Bruins all kinds of energy out of the starting gate, and made a couple of plays that allowed his team to hold a lead despite getting outplayed in the opening 20 minutes. DeBrusk went hard to the net splitting a couple of San Jose defenders on the first goal, and fired a shot on net that created a rebound for Peter Cehlarik to cash in on. Then DeBrusk scored a little bit later on a rush where he beat Brent Burns in a foot race to a loose puck, then whistled a wrist shot past Aaron Dell for his fourth goal of the season. DeBrusk finished with a goal and two points along with a plus-2 and a team-high four shots on net while falling just short of 16 minutes of ice time in the victory. It was a strong effort from DeBrusk shortly after being a healthy scratch, and showed what he’s capable of when he gets his skating legs going.

BLACK EYE: Brent Burns was a complete mess for the Sharks. He was burnt by Jake DeBrusk in each of the first two Bruins goals in the first period with the B’s rookie going right at him with the attack. He also didn’t make it to the net with 12 of the 16 shots that he attempted and Burns finished with seven giveaways as well. It’s been a rough follow-up season for Burns after last year’s Norris Trophy season where he’s tried to do too much for the Sharks, and his game has suffered as a result. That seemed to be the case for Burns against the Bruins as well where his mistakes played a big role in the Sharks dropping the game.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins won the game when they managed to survive an opening 20 minutes where they were outshot 17-5, and even better they had a 2-1 lead based on some offensive fireworks from Jake DeBrusk. They were also aided by a couple of video reviews where the Bruins took a San Jose goal off the board when it was ruled that a crashing Joonas Donskoi punched a puck into the net with his glove. The Peter Cehlarik goal was also upheld at the other end after a challenge from the San Jose bench. It looked like DeBrusk was tripped before he partially crashed into Aaron Dell that set up the Cehlarik goal, and that’s clearly how the referees saw it after reviewing the play.

HONORABLE MENTION: It’s got to be Anton Khudobin, who stopped 36-of-37 shots and improved to 5-0-2 on the season with another strong win aided by a stalwart defensive effort in front of him. Khudobin now has 12 of the 20 points that the Bruins have amassed on the season, and he absolutely rewarded the B’s for opting to go with the Bruins backup for a second game in a row as they ride the hot goaltender. Khudobin was helped by a number of Bruins blocked shots in the third period when the game was still very tight, but it was also about Khudobin coming up with 16 saves in the first period when the Bruins were getting outplayed by the Sharks.

BY THE NUMBERS: 6 – the number of Bruins rookies that have scored their first NHL goals this season, including Peter Cehlarik finally getting his first NHL score Saturday night in his 14th career game.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We need them. They’re in the lineup and they’re playing significant minutes. We need them to produce for us. Tonight we needed some offense early, and they provided it for us.” – Bruce Cassidy, on the role of the rookies in the win where it was all first-year players Peter Cehlarik, Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen doing the scoring vs. San Jose.