By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON -- Zdeno Chara should know later today whether he'll get the call to play in the raucous Bell Centre on Monday night as the Bruins play back-to-back preseason games against the rival Montreal Canadiens.
The first game will be in Brad Marchand's hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Sunday night. The second will be on Monday night at the Bell Centre, home of the Habs and their lunatic fringe fans. And when we say lunatic fringe, we mean that in the nicest way possible.
It's doubtful that Benoit Pouliot will be in the lineup against the Habs in Montreal on Monday, and Chara isn't expected to play in the Bell Centre rink that has deemed him public enemy No. 1 after last year's stanchion hit with Max Pacioretty. The late season collision with the turnbuckle left Pacioretty with a broken vertebrae and a severe concussion, and left raging Canadiens fans to look into pressing criminal charges against the B's captain.
With all of that still swirling around in the bubbling hockey cauldron that is Montreal, Chara may get a pass on skating in the game. But the 6-foot-9 defenseman isn't afraid of much, and he said after Saturday's practice at TD Garden that he's just as soon to play against the Habs on their home ice.
It really doesn't matter to me where I play. It's all the same. They're going to do what they're going to do, said Chara, when asked if he had any apprehension about playing a preseason game at the Bell Centre after last year's wild season series against the Canadiens. I know that I did nothing wrong. I'll always play the same way and that's not going to change. I play hard and I play clean. I'll do that if I play there, or anywhere else.
There were times last season when it seemed the Pacioretty incident was wearing on Chara mentally and physically, but it looks and sounds like the defenseman has definitively turned the page on the incident. That's a good thing for the Black and Gold considering all of the seasonal and playoff battles that may be looming against their fiercest hockey rivals.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
Thanks in large part to a big performance by Tuukka Rask, the Bruins were able to squeak out a 2-1 win against the Sabres.
View gallery here.
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Tuukka Rask made 35 saves to help the Bruins hold off the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on Saturday
David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron scored to give Boston a 2-0 lead and the Bruins improved to 3-0-1 in their past four.
Evander Kane scored his first goal of the season for Buffalo. Robin Lehner returned after missing one game with a hip injury and made 32 saves.
The Sabres combined for nine goals in their previous two wins but the NHL's lowest-scoring team reverted to form from the first 21 games, when star center Jack Eichel was out of the lineup with a high-ankle sprain.
Krejci got the Bruins on the scoreboard with 5:50 left in the first when he deflected Brandon Carlo's slap shot from the point off the right post and into the net.
The Sabres appeared to tie the game late in the second period but replays determined Brian Gionta kicked the puck into the net.
Bergeron made it 2-0 at 7:10 of the second at 7:44 of the third when he knocked on the rebound of his own missed shot. Bergeron initially hit the puck with his forearm on the left edge of the crease and skated around the net to chase down the puck and slip a backhand past Lehner.
The Sabres answered two minutes later, scoring on Rask for the first time in 109:12 this season. Sam Reinhart's feed off the rear wall set up Kane for a wrist shot from the slot that bounced in off Krejci. Reinhart has five points in his last four games.
NOTES: Bruins F Matt Beleskey was escorted to the dressing room in the final minute of the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. ... Sabres D Josh Gorges did not play after injuring his foot blocking a shot in Thursday's win over the New York Rangers. With Dmitry Kulikov (lower back) and Zach Bogosian (MCL sprain) also out, the Sabres were down three of their top four defenseman and recalled 19-year-old Brendan Guhle from the minors to make his NHL debut. Guhle hustled back to thwart a breakaway by Krejci late in the third period. ... F Anton Blidh became the seventh Bruin to make his NHL debut this season after being recalled from the minors on Friday. ... The Bruins scratched F Jimmy Hayes. D Zdeno Chara, the Bruins' captain, missed his sixth straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Rask got a shutout in Boston's 4-0 win over Buffalo on Nov. 7.
Bruins: Host Florida on Monday.
Sabres: At Washington on Monday.
© 2016 by STATS and The Associated Press.