B's reunion of Chara, Seidenberg paying off

B's reunion of Chara, Seidenberg paying off
April 26, 2013, 9:45 am
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BOSTON -- It’s always a reassuring feeling when the Bruins coaching staff decides to combine Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara into one dominant defensemen pairing that can shut down top offensive players.

Putting those two European defensemen together was one of the turning points in Boston’s run to the Stanley Cup two years ago. Now, the Bruins are hoping for another good reaction reuniting them in the final week of the regular season. In their first game skating together, both defensemen topped 24:30 of ice time, and Seidenberg snapped home the game-winning goal from the right point in a 2-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden.

“[You] definitely could see that we feel comfortable with each other. We keep it simple, we talk to each other, we communicate well out there and the result it in us shutting them down for the most part,” said Seidenberg. “We gave up that one odd man rush but for the most part we kept them to the outside and kept them to not as many shots or chances as they would have liked.”

Seidenberg’s score came after finding a shooting lane from the right point, and it came off a Brad Marchand pass as he was wheeling through the middle of the ice. The German cranked up for the shot with Patrice Bergeron battling Victor Hedman in front of the net, and Anders Lindback didn’t have a chance to stop it.  

The offense from Seidenberg is nice, of course, but more exciting development was Boston’s ability to clamp down on defense in a shutout performance. Getting Seidenberg and Chara to be a shutdown pair that can take care of offensive players such as Marty St. Louis and Steve Stamkos was a good start.

“It was about shutting those guys down [Tampa Bay]. There were a couple of breakdowns even, but it’s pretty hard to contain that line because they’re so good. Two of those guys are in the top scoring in the league and you know they’re going to get some chances. You want to minimize it,” said Claude Julien. “Whenever there was a breakdown Tuukka [Rask] made some big saves, but [Seidenberg and Chara] are a pair that has done a good job in the past in the playoffs.

“They hadn’t played together this year, so it’s just about giving them, I guess, a feel, a taste of it again. If need be, when playoffs come around and depending on who we play, we may have that option, as well.”

The defenseman picture is still clearing up for the other two pairings: Wade Redden played again and looked solid skating with Adam McQuaid, and Andrew Ference and Johnny Boychuk make an intriguing group of pairings for the Bruins. That doesn’t even mention 19-year-old Dougie Hamilton, who has pros and cons to his game and will see playoff action at some point if he’s not on the Game 1 roster.