Game 66: Canadiens 4, Bruins 1
Suffice it to say, this was not the bang-bang effort the Bruins were hoping for, falling 4-1 in Montreal and looking at a potential suspension to their captain and defensive rock, Zdeno Chara.
Not that they were without chances, but the offense didn’t seem to be on the same page tonight. Boston put 31 shots on Montreal’s Carey Price, but legitimate scoring chances were few, saved for perimeter shots that Price turned away easily. Milan Lucic had a nice goal in the third period from the top of the slot, but by then it was over.
Tuukka Rask didn’t look especially sharp, only stopping 22 of 26 shots and looking particularly bad on James Wisneiwski’s goal in the second period, Montreal’s fourth. His up-and-down year continues.
Chara sends Pacioretty to the hospital
Chara and Montreal’s Max Pacioretty have had a chippy season, stemming from an incident where Pacioretty hit Chara from behind following an overtime with for the Habs earlier this season.
Related or not, it was a scary moment when Chara, finishing his check near the end of the second period, hit Pacioretty near the Boston bench. Pacioretty’s head hit the glass stanchion that divides the two benches, hit the ice, and stopped moving. He was removed via stretcher, and it was announced in the third period that he was moving his arms and legs and fully responsive. Good news there, for sure.
Chara does not have a reputation as being a dirty player, but he’s as physical as they come, and he imposes his will on the ice regularly. This seemed to these eyes as a play that wasn’t dirty so much as it was unfortunate. Did he have to finish his check in this case? No, the puck was already gone, and an interference call would have been sufficient in normal circumstances.
Boston coach Claude Julien said after the game that were it anywhere else on the ice, Pacioretty wouldn’t be hurt. And that’s true. But he was hurt, Chara was given five minutes plus a 10-minute game misconduct, and will be subject to the NHL’s disciplinary board from here.
Anyway, here’s the hit. Whether it was dirty, dumb or simply an accident, you can decide for yourself.