Bruins: Zdeno Chara

Bruins thriving on special teams' play

April, 21, 2014
Apr 21
BOSTON -- Entering this first-round matchup between the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings, there was this notion that it could shape up as a disciplined series.

If the Red Wings maintained their composure and did not fall into the Bruins' style of play, Detroit could have the advantage. That's the way it went in Game 1 as the Red Wings earned a 1-0 win. There were only three power plays total in that game.

[+] EnlargeZdeno Chara
Brian Babineau/Getty ImagesZdeno Chara scored a power-play goal in Game 2, and his presence in front of the net has helped the PP unit improve.
Things changed in Game 2 as Boston played exactly the way it wanted to and forced the Red Wings into a bunch of penalties. But the Bruins expect to be called for some, too, when they bring that physical, intense style of hockey.

Both of the Bruins' special-team units were successful in Game 2. They went 2-for-4 on the power play, with Reilly Smith and Zdeno Chara scoring. Boston was a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.

"Our power play has been good. It's a lot better this year," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "And the big thing was, can they continue to produce for us in the playoffs? And that's an important part of the game, and I know we won in the past without having a power play.

"Penalty kill to me is extremely important. Our penalty kill right now is doing a pretty good job, but when you have both units being able to do the job right, it helps a lot, and obviously it was a big difference in [Game 2], the penalty kill being so good and getting those power-play goals."

As far as the power play, this is the first time in a long time that the Bruins have two solid and productive units.

"Yeah, it's been a while since we've been consistent and successful like that, scoring some big goals, so we've got to keep that going," Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron said.

While the power play's personnel has remained steady, the penalty kill has been without the services of Daniel Paille (head) and Chris Kelly (back) because of injuries. Still, others have stepped in and produced, such as rookie Justin Florek and veteran David Krejci in the first two games of this series.

"Our guys just did a great job," Julien said. "I think they have good positions. We worked hard to get our penalty kill back to the level that we needed for the playoffs by really looking at their power play closely and seeing the tendencies.

"But David Krejci hasn't killed much this year. He's killed in the past and he's been a good penalty killer. We're, I guess, blessed with a lot of them this year where we're able to save David for the line following a penalty kill. But we need him now. He stepped up. Florek's another guy that's killed penalties in Providence and is pretty good at it as well. So guys have done a good job. Our regular guys continue to do a good job on it, but then new guys have come in and really stepped up and replaced those missing guys in a good way."

The PK always has been a source of strength for the Bruins. The power play has gone from a weakness to a weapon this season.

The ability of rookie defenseman Torey Krug to quarterback the PP has allowed Julien to move Chara to the front of the net. The 6-foot-9 defenseman is a virtual wall in front of the opposition's goaltender. During the regular season, he recorded 15 points (10 goals and five assists) on the PP.

In Game 2 Sunday, Chara scored on the team's fourth power play of the game. The Bruins controlled the puck at the point as Chara screened Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard. Boston's Jarome Iginla took a shot from the right faceoff circle and Howard made the initial save, but Chara pumped in the rebound through the 5-hole to give Boston a 4-1 lead.

Having Chara in front of the net this season has been productive.

"Z takes up so much room and so much space it's tough to move him out of the way and I think it's really hard for goalies to see the puck," Bergeron said.

Chara shrugs off invitation to fight

April, 20, 2014
Apr 20
BOSTON -- When this series between the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings is complete, it would be interesting and entertaining to hear what Bruins forward Reilly Smith says to his older brother, Brendan, about his desire to drop the gloves with Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.

At the conclusion of the first period during Boston’s 4-1 win over Detroit in Game 2, a scrum broke out behind the Bruins’ net. Away from the play, Brendan Smith got in the face of Chara and attempted to draw the Bruins defenseman into dropping the gloves.

Chara didn’t bite and Smith should be thankful.

“He wouldn’t be the first guy I’d choose in the NHL to go against,” Reilly Smith said. “He should probably think twice next time.”

When asked if he was worried for his brother’s safety, Reilly said, “No, not too much. That’s the least of my worries right now.”

Brendan Smith did not speak with the media after the game, and Chara downplayed the situation as part of the game.

“Nothing really, it’s just playoff hockey,” Chara said.

B's in Sochi: Loui wins; Chara, Krejci lose

February, 15, 2014
Feb 15
The Boston Bruins went 1-for-3 Saturday at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

* Loui Eriksson and Sweden finished with 5-3 win over Latvia. The Bruins’ forward did not register a point, but had three shots on net.

* Slovenia defeated Zdeno Chara and Slovakia 3-1. Chara assisted on Slovakia’s lone goal, but finished with a minus-1 and one shot on net.

* Switzerland posted a 1-0 win over David Krejci and the Czech Republic. Krejci was minus-1 with one shot on net.

On Sunday, Chara and Slovakia will face Russia at 7:30 a.m. ET, and Finland (Tuukka Rask) will play Canada (Patrice Bergeron) at noon ET.

B's in Sochi: Rask will start for Finland

February, 12, 2014
Feb 12
A few hours after the Boston Bruins defeated the Ottawa Senators in the final game before the Olympic break Saturday at TD Garden, Bruins forward Loui Eriksson and Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson stood in the hallway and discussed their plans to represent Sweden in the Winter Olympics.

The regular-season adversaries helped Sweden to a 4-2 win over the Czech Republic in the first game of the men’s ice hockey competition Wednesday in Sochi. Karlsson scored twice for the Swedes. Eriksson was a minus-1 and recorded two shots on net.

Bruins forward David Krejci did not register a point or a shot on net in the loss for the Czechs.

Prior to leaving for Sochi, Krejci said it would be tough to play against a Bruins teammate at the Olympics.

“It’s definitely a little weird,” Krejci said on Saturday. “But once you’re on the ice you play for one team and Loui is going to be playing for the other team, so that’s just the way it is.”

Thursday’s Olympic hockey slate includes Team USA against the Zdeno Chara-led Slovakian squad (7:30 a.m.), Canada (Patrice Bergeron) against Norway (noon) and Finland versus Austria (3 a.m.). Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask will start between the pipes for Finland.

Chara's Olympic twin bed amuses B's

February, 7, 2014
Feb 7
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Numerous pictures have surfaced of Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara enjoying the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Many of his fellow Olympians have tweeted shots taken with him, and in many cases the size difference is striking.

One picture in particular had his Bruins teammates ribbing him after the team's practice Friday at Ristuccia Arena as the players prepare for their last game Saturday before the Olympic break when they host the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden.

The picture of Chara's twin bed is hysterical, only because he somehow needs to figure out how to rest his 6-foot-9, 255-pound frame onto such a small mattress. Chara moved an ottoman to the foot of the bed in order to accommodate his massive body.

"You're that tall, what can you do, right?" said goaltender Tuukka Rask with a smile. "You've just got to deal with it."

Julien said he hasn't seen the pictures of Chara's twin bed.

"No, I haven't, but he did tell me he was going to put a couple of beds together and see if that would help," Julien said. "I'm not sure they built those accommodations for 6-foot-9 athletes, but he'll make do. He's been through that a few times."

Leading up to the Olympic Games Julien has done a solid job of keeping his focus on the Bruins, but he finally admitted Friday afternoon he's ready to represent Team Canada as an associate coach.

"Peter [Chiarelli] just asked me today if I'm looking forward to going and if I'm getting excited. I said 'Yeah.' This is probably one of the first days that I'm really starting to feel it," Julien said. "We've got one game left and my focus is on that game, but at the same time, we're just a couple of days away from leaving. It is getting exciting, and I'm looking forward to representing my country."

Chara carries flag at opening ceremonies

February, 7, 2014
Feb 7
Zdeno CharaPascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara carried the Slovakian flag during the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia on Friday. Chara missed the Bruins game against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday so he could go to Russia and carry the flag. He’ll also miss Saturday’s game against the Ottawa Senators.

"What this guy has done for our organization and the honor that it represents to carry the flag for your country, how can you not support that opportunity," Bruins coach Claude Julien said this past Saturday when it was announced that Chara would miss two games.

Slovakia opens its Olympic hockey schedule on Feb. 13 against the U.S.

Click here for's complete coverage of the Winter Olympics.

Snapshot: Zdeno Chara in Sochi

February, 7, 2014
Feb 7
Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara was spotted in Sochi, where today he will carry the Slovakian flag in the Olympics Opening Ceremonies. Canadian figure skater Kirsten Moore-Towers tweeted this photo:

Bergeron among B's named to Olympics

January, 7, 2014
Jan 7
Rosters are complete for the Winter Olympics and the Boston Bruins will be well represented in Sochi.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara will serve as captain for Slovakia, while forwards Patrice Bergeron (Canada), David Krejci (Czech Republic), Loui Eriksson (Sweden) and goaltender Tuukka Rask (Finland) will all represent their countries.

This is Chara’s third time playing in the Olympics and the second invite for Bergeron, Eriksson and Krejci. Rask will be making his Olympic debut. Bergeron won a gold medal in Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Bruins forward Milan Lucic was not selected to Team Canada.

Bruins coach Claude Julien will serve as an assistant coach for Team Canada, while Boston GM Peter Chiarelli is serving as an adviser.

Rapid Reaction: Bruins 2, Flames 0

December, 17, 2013
BOSTON -- After a successful 3-1-0 road trip through Canada, the Boston Bruins returned home and continued their winning ways with a 2-0 victory over the Calgary Flames Tuesday night at TD Garden.

It's the second time in a week these teams played. Boston defeated Calgary 2-1 last Tuesday at the Saddledome.

The Bruins received a pair of power-play goals from captain Zdeno Chara, while goaltender Tuukka Rask made 21 saves to register his third shutout of the season and 19th of his career. With the win, the Bruins are 11-3-1 in their last 15 games and increased their home winning streak to 11-0-2.

After a scoreless first period, the Bruins gained a 1-0 lead on Chara's first power-play goal at 7:38 of the second period. His one-timer from the right faceoff dot beat Calgary goaltender Reto Berra to the five-hole. It was Chara's eighth goal of the season and fifth power-play tally. Rask didn't see much action in the second period as Boston outshot Calgary, 15-4.

The Bruins gained a 2-0 lead on Chara's second power-play goal of the game at 3:19 of the third period. This time he was camped out in front of the Calgary net and pumped in his ninth goal of the season.

Down two goals, the Flames pulled Berra with more than two minutes remaining in regulation, but couldn't capitalize with the extra attacker.

SCARY MOMENT: Early in the second period, Chara took a high stick to the face and immediately dropped to the ice with his hand over his right eye. He stayed on the ice for a moment and was tended to by team trainer Don DelNegro. Chara went to the bench and did not miss a shift. It was the stick of Flames' Matt Stajan that caught Chara, but there was no penalty on the play. A few minutes later, Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller also was hit in the face with a high stick, but this time Calgary's Lance Bouma received a four-minute double minor. The Bruins capitalized on the man-advantage as Chara scored.

WELCOME TO THE SHOW: Bruins rookie Craig Cunningham made his NHL debut Tuesday night. He was recalled Monday from Providence on an emergency basis and was in the lineup against the Flames, playing on the Bruins' fourth line with Gregory Campbell and Jordan Caron. Cunningham, 23, has nine goals and five assists for 14 points in 27 games for the P-Bruins this season. He's also the eighth player this season to play his first game with the Bruins. During his junior career, Cunningham was a teammate of Milan Lucic with the Vancouver Giants and won the Memorial Cup in 2006-07.

TAZ: As part of the team's season-long 90th anniversary celebration, former Bruins forward, captain and coach Terry O'Reilly dropped the ceremonial puck prior to the game. No. 24 received a nice ovation from the fans and players on both teams.

UP NEXT: The Bruins have a home-and-home series with the lowly Buffalo Sabres. Boston travels to Buffalo to face the Sabres Thursday night before returning to host their Atlantic Division opponent Saturday at TD Garden.

Chara, B's stun Pens with finishing flurry

December, 8, 2013
BOSTON -- Oh, and by the way, there was a hockey game played between the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night at TD Garden.

With the exception of the Shawn Thornton incident -- he jumped the Penguins' Brooks Orpik, throwing him to the ice and punching him in the head twice before the Pittsburgh defenseman was taken off on a stretcher and transported to a hospital -- it was a good, physical and intense game between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.

[+] EnlargeZdeno Chara
AP Photo/Michael DwyerZdeno Chara celebrates his game-winning goal with 13 seconds left.
Like many times in the past, the Bruins finished with a flurry, erasing a one-goal deficit late in the third period to beat the Penguins 3-2. After Boston pulled goaltender Tuukka Rask for the extra attacker with 1:45 remaining in regulation, David Krejci scored to tie it at 2-2 at 18:31 of the third period. Teammate Zdeno Chara then scored with 13 seconds remaining in regulation en route to victory.

"Yeah, it was very hard for me. Since the start of the game it was very physical," Chara said. "There was a lot of emotions involved and it was up-and-down hockey, a lot of scoring chances, very playoff kind of hockey. We were behind the whole game. We were just fighting for that tying goal and eventually we got it and then we carried that momentum into basically the end of the game and we were able to score a goal with very little time left in the game so it was a good game to win for us."

With the win, Boston extended its home point streak to 12 games (10-0-2) and also snapped Pittsburgh's five-game winning streak.

After the game, Bruins coach Claude Julien said he would rather focus on the team's win than speak about the incidents in the first period involving Thornton and Orpik.

"Well, it was a good win for us. We haven't felt real good about our game because of the ups and downs and tonight it was kind of, like I said, a real weird game," Julien said. "It was a grinding type of game. Didn't seem like a ton of stuff was happening and for us to kind of grind it out and get those two late goals and get the win in regulation, I think we have to build on that.

"The rest we have to park and we have a big game tomorrow again in Toronto and we have to somehow push this aside and focus on tomorrow's game. And that's why we need to move on here and let the people that are in charge deal with this."

Bruins forward Reilly Smith also scored for the Bruins and played one of his best games of the season. He added an assist on Chara's game-winning goal.

"It was great to see it hit the back of the net," Smith said. "We were battling for probably the whole third period. It's hard to get chances and it seemed like until the last minute we finally got one in. To see [Krejci's goal] and then have Chara get that last one is huge."

Smith has three goals and three assists for six points in his last eight games.

In case you're wondering how physical this game was, there were 67 hits total between the teams. Boston had 31 and Pittsburgh had 36.

Chara, B's fight back to beat Rangers

November, 29, 2013

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins never need to have the proverbial "statement" game. All they need to do is stick to their style, to physically and mentally break down their opponent and finish with the win.

Coming off their worst game of the season, the Bruins rebounded with a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Friday afternoon at TD Garden. After losing 6-1 to the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, the Bruins realize their brand of hockey is a challenge to maintain for an entire season, and they believe Friday's victory over New York was a character win.

[+] EnlargeClaude Julien
John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe/Getty ImagesBruins coach Claude Julien was pleased with "the character our guys showed" in bouncing back from a bad loss in Detroit to beat the Rangers.
"We play a certain way that's hard to play 82 games that way," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "It's demanding, so you try to get players that are willing to try to play those kinds of games every night and that's what we feel we have, but it doesn't always happen. The thing I like is the character our guys showed. It's about finding ways to win and bouncing back. That last game didn't sit well with us. Instead of getting upset, we were going to get determined."

After that pitiful loss to the Red Wings, Julien had practice on Thanksgiving and held a brief closed-door meeting afterward. The coach's message was simple, and there was no yelling, screaming or throwing any furniture around the room because that's not Julien's style. Plus, this team and these players have been through it all and know exactly how they needed to respond.

"You just want to make sure you recognize the situation you're in," said goaltender Tuukka Rask, who finished with 17 saves against the Rangers. "We realize we're in first place, so that's positive. We just played a bad game [Wednesday in Detroit] and you want to bounce back and really keep things simple. That's what we did today, got pucks to the net and it paid off."

The Bruins responded, playing with emotion and bringing that physical style of play Boston is known for. The Bruins displayed more purpose and passion than the last game, showcasing their personality and their composure. They were able to create sustained pressure in the offensive zone and did not allow New York many quality chances at the other end of the ice.

"We played a good solid game all around -- lots of physical play, lots of emotion and lots of scoring chances," Julien said. "Today, I can honestly say, it was a good game, but we were the better team and that's what I wanted our team to be."

It also helped that captain Zdeno Chara set the tone.

When he's playing his best, he's effective in every aspect of the game. That was the case against the Rangers. He was steady on defense, chipped in offensively with a goal and an assist, and dropped the gloves, too, for the Gordie Howe hat trick.

"He's our leader. He's the guy who brings the emotion if it's lacking and that's what he did tonight," said Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. "He made a great pass on the first goal, a great fight and he scored the last goal. He basically won the game for us and that's what you want out of a leader -- and that's what he's been doing for many years."

[+] EnlargeZdeno Chara, Brian Boyle
AP Photo/Winslow TownsonZdeno Chara (33) picked up his first fighting major of the season in a bout with Brian Boyle.
After the game, Chara stood at his locker in full uniform, towering over the media scrum and sporting a black eye from his fight with the Rangers' Brian Boyle.

"He's an incredible leader," said Bruins forward Brad Marchand, who scored his fourth goal of the season. "Every day he comes in he shows the guys the direction that we need to go in. He always comes up big at the big times. You saw that assist on my goal, and again the game winner and how he sticks up for his teammates. We're very lucky to have him and he's definitely very tough for other teams to play against."

At the time of the fight late in the second period, the Bruins were trailing 2-1 when Chara came to the aid of teammate David Krejci, who was getting bounced around in the middle of a scrum. Chara doesn't drop the gloves often, but when he does it usually means he's really upset about something. In fact, it was his first fighting major of the season.

"It's part of the game," Chara said. "Sometimes scrums involve a lot of heated moments or emotions. You have to protect your best players in that situation. The situation just happened. Brian is really strong and a tough customer and it was something that we just kind of reacted on."

That sparked the Bruins as they produced a solid third period, scoring a pair of goals en route to victory.

Boston seemed determined to erase the disgraceful loss to the Red Wings, and it's no coincidence the Bruins' leadership core of Chara and assistant captain Patrice Bergeron made significant contributions in the win over the Rangers.

"It's important to step up, but also let everyone know that we all need to do that," said Bergeron, who scored the game-tying goal at 1:35 of the third period. "You just can't turn the page. You've got to learn from it and realize we got embarrassed. If we don't play and work the way we should work, we're not going to get the results. We're not the type of team that can play like that, so we've got to be going every night. Today was an important game to be back at it."

With this win over the Rangers, especially on the heels of Boston's worst game of the season, it's just another example of how tough the Bruins are to beat when they're playing a strong, physical game.

"At the end of the day, the Rangers really didn't have a chance," Rask said.

Crosby knows it will be a battle vs. Chara

November, 25, 2013
BOSTON -- There’s an image from Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals this past June when Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was leaning over and yelling in the face of Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.

Their tussle at center ice followed a fight between the Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron and the Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin at the end of the first period. Boston won that game and eventually swept the Penguins in that series as Crosby did not register a point.

[+] EnlargeSidney Crosby, Zdeno Chara
Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesSidney Crosby and Zdeno Chara exchange words during Game 1 of last season's Easter Conference finals.
After the series, Pittsburgh wanted it known that Chara punched Crosby in his surgically repaired jaw and released footage of the incident.

Crosby had missed the final 12 games of the regular season and the first game of the quarterfinals with a broken jaw. He also played with a cage in the first two rounds but removed it for the conference finals against the Bruins.

The Penguins and Bruins have already played this season with Pittsburgh beating Boston 3-2 on Oct. 30 at Pittsburgh. The teams will face off again Monday night at TD Garden.

Following the Penguins' morning skate, Crosby revisited that emotional series and his run-in with Chara.

“He punched me in the jaw and I obviously wasn’t happy with that and said something,” Crosby said. “But after that it was done. I don’t really say much to him. He’s a guy who competes, wants to shut me down and I respect that. I like to play hard and so does he. It’s two guys who want to do the best for their team and it gets heated out there sometimes. It’s just the way it goes. I don’t look at him any differently than I would any other guy I’m going up against.”

It’s no secret that almost every time Crosby is on the ice against the Bruins, Chara will be, too. He’s done a solid job of shutting Crosby down, especially in the conference finals.

“There’s always challenges,” Crosby said of playing against Chara. “Those little games within the game, I guess, he’s a big guy and you’re definitely aware when he’s out there, you’re not going to miss him. He’s one of those guys who looks forward to those challenges, gets up for those and wants to shut you down. You have to find ways to create, and the thing with him, his reach is so long there are times when you feel like on a normal-sized defenseman you’d have him beat, then he gets a stick on it. You’ve just got to be patient. There are times when you feel like you’ve got a step on him, but he finds a way to get a stick on it.”

Rapid Reaction: B's 3, Blue Jackets 2 (OT)

November, 14, 2013

BOSTON -- Milan Lucic scored with 48.6 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Boston Bruins a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Bruins extended their winning streak to four games when Lucic blocked a shot, collected the ricochet at center ice, broke in on Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and beat him 5-hole. Boston earned nine of a possible 10 points during this five-game homestand.

"A great job of blocking the shot and he got on his horse and took off," Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Lucic's winner. "Again, he can shoot the puck. He got him in the five-hole and it was a great decision on his part."

The Bruins received goals from Loui Eriksson and Shawn Thornton, while goaltender Chad Johnson made 32 saves to win his first game at TD Garden this season. The goal scorers for the Blue Jackets were Blake Comeau and Nick Foligno.

The Blue Jackets gained the early 1-0 lead when Comeau beat Johnson with a point-blank shot from the slot at 12:48 of the first period. Boston blueliners Dougie Hamilton and Zdeno Chara were caught chasing behind the net, leaving Comeau all alone in front for his second goal of the season.

Columbus was playing a physical game, but the Bruins broke through moments later and tied it at one. Eriksson was battling for position in front of Bobrovsky when Chara's easy wrister from the left point redirected off Eriksson's skate and snuck in at 18:10.

Boston took a 2-1 lead when Thornton's slap shot from the right faceoff circle was redirected off the stick of Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson and beat Bobrovsky at 10:09 of the second period. The Bruins are now 25-4 when Thornton has scored a goal. Bruins defenseman Torey Krug assisted on the goal to extend his point streak to five games. He now has six goals and six assists for 12 points in 18 games.

Foligno took advantage of another defensive breakdown by the Bruins and knotted the game at two at 16:34 of the second.

Saves of the game: With the game tied at two early in the third period, Johnson kept the Bruins in this one with solid saves on back-to-back 2-on-1s. He first stopped the Blue Jackets' Ryan Johansen with a quick right-pad save, then followed it up with another on Brandon Dubinsky.

Special is as special does: The Bruins continue to dominate on the penalty kill. Boston went 4-for-4 on the PK and has killed off 26 consecutive penalties. Overall, the Bruins are 50-for-58 on the PK this season.

"We were really disappointed in that game against New Jersey [when we allowed three power-play goals] and finding a way to bounce back and being real solid since then was a goal of ours," Julien said. "Every game is a new challenge and guys are looking forward to it and they want to prolong it as long as they can. So tonight we needed our goaltender as well to make the big saves at the right time and keep that streak going and we did."

Krejci injured: Midway through the opening period, top-line Bruins center David Krejci suffered what appeared to be a head injury when he lost his edge and went horizontally into the corner boards. It didn't help that the Blue Jackets' Dubinsky was trailing Krejci and made the collision worse. Krejci remained on the ice and was tended to by team trainer Don DelNegro. Krejci was able to skate off on his own and went directly to the dressing room. At the end of the play, Lucic was called for roughing as he attempted to bait Dubinsky into a fight. Krejci missed the remainder of the opening period but returned for the start of the second. He entered the game with three goals and 13 assists for 16 points in 17 games.

"I don’t know if [Dubinsky] could have let up a little bit," Julien said. "It looked like he turned his hip and that his hip kind of hit him in the head there as he was falling. You have to be careful, because if you start looking at every hit and then you’re looking to punish every hit, we’re going to hurt our game more than we’re going to help it. So again, those things I’d rather let the people in charge look at it and dissect it and I’m certainly not going to stand in front of the computer and dissect it because he’s back and he’s with us and I need to think about preparing our team for tomorrow."

Up next: The Bruins concluded their five-game homestand and now hit the road for three games, beginning in Ottawa on Friday night, then heading to Carolina on Monday and the New York Rangers on Tuesday.

Bruins' short-handed blue line delivers

November, 10, 2013
BOSTON -- Losing one of their top defensemen early in the game didn't help the Boston Bruins' cause against one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference on Saturday night at TD Garden.

[+] EnlargeFrazer McLaren, Adam McQuaid
Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY SportsAdam McQuaid fought Frazer McLaren before leaving the game shortly thereafter due to injury.
But after defenseman Adam McQuaid left with what appeared to be a right-leg injury at the 8-minute mark of the first period, the Bruins battled through and finished with a 3-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"It's something that's very unfortunate, but at the same time you have to pull the load and everybody has to chip in and get a little more ice time and do the job," Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said of losing McQuaid's services.

The Bruins scored a pair of power-play goals and added an empty-netter en route to victory. But the main reason they won was the play of the defense, including goaltender Tuukka Rask, who finished with 33 saves.

"I think they played solid today," Rask said. "There were a lot of blocked shots [15]. The second period caught us off guard again and we didn't play good as a team, but those five Ds battled hard and did the job."

On Oct. 31, the Bruins were without defenseman Johnny Boychuk for the majority of the game due to a back injury against the Anaheim Ducks. Boston was left short-handed on the blue line but pulled through and won 3-2 in a shootout.

The Bruins were forced to play with a man down again on Saturday. The game plan changed quickly as the Bruins needed their defensemen to take shorter shifts but carry more of the load while changing partners throughout the game. Chara came up big, logging 28 minutes of ice time and producing the first power-play goal. Dennis Seidenberg finished with 24:15 of ice time, while Boychuk played 24:28.

But it was fellow blueliner Dougie Hamilton, the second-year man, who really stepped up his game.

"With Adam being down everybody played a little bit more," Chara said. "But [Hamilton] is such a smooth skater and everybody knows he can skate with the puck, he can handle the puck. He's getting better and he still needs to get better, just like everybody else."

The Bruins have had seven solid defensemen for six spots. Matt Bartkowski has mostly been the odd man out as Hamilton and Torey Krug have been in the lineup most games.

[+] EnlargeDougie Hamilton
AP Photo/Michael DwyerDougie Hamilton has stepped up his game in his sophomore campaign.
Hamilton's sophomore season has been a productive one so far. It's evident he's trusting his abilities at this level.

"I've gotten better defensively around the net and in the corners," Hamilton said. "I think I got stronger, too. I have more confidence and I'm more comfortable with the guys."

The 20-year-old played nearly 25 minutes Saturday against the Maple Leafs. He was involved in every aspect of the game and found his rhythm.

"I like it better, personally," Hamilton said of the added ice time. "When you know you're going to play a lot, you just keep going out there and don't have to sit on the bench too long. Everyone stepped up and we played well as a defensive group."

When Rask says he doesn't notice Hamilton during a game, believe it or not, it's a compliment.

"He seems to make the right plays a lot out there," Rask said. "He's playing the body well and he's playing smart. The less I see him out there, the better he seems to play. I never really can memorize anything he does out there, so I think that's a good sign that he's playing a rock-solid defensive game, which in this league, and on our team, is really important."

The other aspect of the Bruins' game that proved crucial was on special teams. Boston went 2-for-3 on the power play, receiving goals from Chara and Patrice Bergeron.

"It's something that we've worked on for a few years now and now it seems to be clicking," Bergeron said. "Obviously that helps the team a lot. That's something that we've talked a lot about and that we needed to be better at. So far it's been good. We've got to keep building on that, and (penalty kill) is the same thing. We've got to keep playing well there and the special teams are always a key to get some points."

Speaking of the penalty kill, the Bruins were a perfect 3-for-3 in that category, including an important kill in the waning minutes of the third period with Boston holding a one-goal lead. With Carl Soderberg in the box for holding, the Bruins were aggressive and once again stifled Toronto's attack.

"It was huge," Rask said. "It's always a tough time to get a penalty that late and you know they're going to try everything in their power to get that goal, and we really chopped down pucks and we got them out when we had to. The penalty kill has been improving a lot in these past couple games and that's our bread and butter, we need to be a good team on PK and we've done that in the past."

On a night when the Bruins were down a man and facing a tough opponent, they finished with an important victory.

Chara, Lucic help B's finish off Ducks

November, 1, 2013
BOSTON -- Whatever the root cause may be, lately there seems to be some sort of jumper-cable spark to the Bruins' sense of urgency in the 11th hour.

Last week, it was David Krejci redirecting a soft Adam McQuaid wrister from the point with 0.8 seconds left to snatch two points from San Jose. Thursday, it was Zdeno Chara who netted a tying power-play goal against Anaheim with 2:50 left in regulation.

After an interference call on Anaheim winger Patrick Maroon and with the Bruins down 2-1, Milian Lucic scraped Krejci's won faceoff away from the Ducks' Francois Beauchemin, centering it into space near the blue line. Puck-moving defenseman Torey Krug charged toward the loose puck and heaved a wrister at goaltender Jonas Hiller, getting a tip from a screening Chara in the low slot. From there, Krejci slid the rebound between the legs of Cam Fowler to the wide-open weak post, where Chara easily tapped it home for the power-play goal and 2-2 tie.

Tuukka Rask, Torey Krug
Jared Wickerham/Getty ImagesTorey Krug (47) congratulated Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask after Thursday's shootout victory.
"There was a loose puck up top and Looch was in the battle, and I saw they had a third guy coming in to the battle and I kind of retreated," Krug said. "I saw that he slid and lucky enough, I was able to keep the puck in and I knew they had three guys up high and Z [Chara] was down low.

"Any time Z is down there it's a good chance for our team. So I just threw it at the net, it didn't have to be hard. He got a good tip on it and Krej made a great play to get it over to him."

After a scoreless overtime, Jarome Iginla, who scored his first goal as a Bruin in that wild finish against San Jose, came up big again in the shootout. In the second round, Iginla went glove side on Hiller and the Bruins won the shootout 1-0 after a final attempt from Ryan Getzlaf hit the crossbar.

Asked if he felt fortunate to come out of Thursday's game with two points despite another sluggish start, Bruins head coach Claude Julien wouldn't go that far.

"I don't know if I'm going to say fortunate," he said. "I think we worked hard and when you look at how we were in the second period, we had a lot of offensive zone time in there. I thought we had some chances. I thought again, that goal in the last 20 seconds of the second would have probably broken a lot of teams' backs; didn't break ours. We came back out in the third and fought. I'd rather give my team credit for this one than say we're fortunate.

"I'm not going to stand here and say we're playing great hockey because, as I mentioned before, it's a game of momentum and right now the momentum is not quite where we'd like it to be. We played a tough game yesterday in Pittsburgh and I think it took its toll on us a little bit. And for us to come out here and play a gritty game and then battle right to the end to win this one against a team that was fresh and waiting for us here, if anything I'd say it was a real gutsy effort on our part."