Bruins disappointed they didn't step up in Chara's absence

Bruins disappointed they didn't step up in Chara's absence
March 4, 2013, 10:30 am
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BOSTON -- There was universal disappointment in the Bruins locker room following Sunday night’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens that the rest of the team couldn’t step up while Zdeno Chara was in the penalty box for 17 minutes. The Bruins captain stepped up and protected young forward Tyler Seguin when he was the victim of a dirty cross-check to the ribs authored by Alexei Emelin.

“I just wanted [Chara] to get the guy pretty good,” said Dougie Hamilton, who was probably envisioning Chara doing the same kind of thing if ever needs the help as a 19-year-old battling against some of the wolves in the league. “Pretty amazing how strong he is and what he was able to do there. It’s just unfortunate that we couldn’t play better with him in the box.”

But the Canadiens also stepped up and were the beneficiaries of third-period goals from Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais that ultimately gave the Habs a 4-3 win over the Bruins at TD Garden. The Bruins actually out-shot the Canadiens by a 10-4 margin in the final 20 minutes, but two of the four shots were successful in tying and then eventually taking the lead.  

Pacioretty’s goal came with Desharnais screening in front of the net after a Bruins turnover, and the game-winning score saw Andrew Ference and Johnny Boychuk scrambling to defend a melee in front of the net that Chara normally commands in those situations.

Afterwards Chara’s Bruins teammates were lauding their leader for addressing the sketchy activity on the ice, but lamenting that they couldn’t hold down the fort without him.

“ 'Z' is the best defenseman in the league," said Brad Marchand. "When he’s not on the ice, it’s a huge advantage to the other team. But at the same time guys have to step up in that situation. When someone stands up for a teammate the way that 'Z' did, we all have to step up and make sure that we back him up and we didn’t do that tonight.

“That’s what you have to do in that situation. The kid was running around a bit tonight and when you make a cheap shot like that then guys like 'Z' and the rest of our teammates don’t like it, and 'Z' did a nice job stepping up there.”

There was plenty of disappointment around the Bruins dressing room as they felt like it was one of the few times this season that they let two points slip through their fingers. But there was zero disappointment in Chara's choice to use Sunday night's game against a hated opponent as a chance to remind everyone that the 6-foot-9 defenseman is always looming if somebody decides to perpetrate a dirty hit on any member of the Black and Gold.