BOSTON – It was a tumultuous pregame warmup for both the Bruins and the Blackhawks prior to Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals Monday night at TD Garden.
Marian Hossa went through the warmup but was scratched due to an “upper body injury”, according to Chicago coach Joel Quenneville. Hossa's absence left the Hawks without one of their biggest, strongest players around the net and someone who had been very effective in the first two games of the series,
On the Bruins’ side, Zdeno Chara left the ice early after colliding with Milan Lucic and suffering a cut to his head that eventually required stitches.
Chara lost an edge on a TD Garden ice surface that -- softened by Monday's hot, humid weather -- was described with an expletive by Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask during a postgame interview with NBC's Pierre McGuire, and ran into Lucic’s skate blade. It was scary for Chara’s teammates until they got back to the dressing room and saw their captain was fine once a few stitches had been administered.
"We knew he was okay once we got into the locker room," said Dennis Seidenberg.
The Bruins captain picked up an assist while playing 25:47 of shutdown hockey in a 2-0 win for the Bruins that puts them up 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. He also completely rag-dolled Chicago’s biggest and strongest player, Bryan Bickell, in a scrum at the end of the game, and appeared to be making a statement on the Game 3 battle level of the two Stanley Cup Final combatants.
“It tells a lot about him,” said Patrice Bergeron. "It just shows the type of person he is, the type of leader he is, the character that he has. Obviously we’re happy to have him and just feed off of his intensity and his will.”
The will and intensity left him matched up once again with Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, and once again the two-way center was left off the board while losing 8-of-19 faceoffs. It’s amazing how that can be the standard effort from a superstar player after a night tangling with Boston’s 6-foot-9 defensive intimidator.
“We just tried to work very hard,” said Chara. “We take a lot of pride in [our defense], so we’ve just got to continue to do that.”
The Bruins captain has been a man of few, direct words during these playoffs, with all his energy so intently pointed on trying to hoist another Stanley Cup overhead. A little cut couldn't stop him from helping his team move to within two wins of that goal.