BOSTON -- In the first two games of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Zdeno Chara's main responsibility was shutting down the New York Rangers' biggest offensive threat, Rick Nash.
That, of course, was a whole lot easier to do at the TD Garden, where Boston held the advantage of making the last line change before faceoffs. Now, the series shifts to Madison Square Garden, where New York will have the advantage of sending Nash on the ice whenever Chara is on the bench.
For the most part, after Monday's practice, the Bruins played the "worry about ourselves" card. But it's no secret. With the last line change at home, the Rangers will be an improved offensive team.
"We need to obviously understand that they're going to be better," said Bruins coach Claude Julien after Monday's practice. "We also need to be better. We're on the road. We don't get the last change. So it will be a tougher situation."
And in that tougher situation, guys like Adam McQuaid will get more of a look against Nash.
"We obviously expect them to come out hard," said McQuaid after Monday's practice. "And we have to come out and match that."
Nash hasn't had too much success so far in this series, mainly because of the Bruins' obsession and strategy to have Chara on the ice at the same time as him. Still, Nash has had his moments.
And McQuaid isn't Chara. So his work will be cut out for him. But McQuaid comes closer than any other Bruins defenseman to matching Chara's physicality and toughness. He's also second on the Bruins' blue line in plus-minus through nine playoff games with a plus-5. Chara is a plus-7.
If Rangers coach John Tortorella has his choice -- which he will for the most part in Games 3 and 4 -- then he'll choose to pit Nash against McQuaid rather than Chara.
McQuaid said he'll be ready for the challenge.
"I'll be prepared in case there is a situation that I'm out there against him, and try and be aware of when he's out there and where he is," said McQuaid. "We know that he can be a difference-maker. He's a big, strong guy. So we definitely have to be aware when he's out there."