With 5:15 to go in Sunday’s 3-0 win over the Panthers in a matinee at the Garden, the Bruins’ playoff hopes were seemingly doubled over in front of the Florida bench. Boston captain Zdeno Chara was down, and remained down for quite a while, before straightening up under his own power and making his way to the penalty box.
“The last thing you need,’’ said coach Claude Julien, able to exhale as he finally saw Big Z scoot across ice to the sin bin, “is those kinds of injuries and those kinds of penalties. So maybe we dodged a bullet, but those are the things you fear at this time of year — you don’t want those unnecessary injuries to happen.’’
Chara, after serving the two-minute interference call (he got tangled up with Jonathan Huberdeau), skated directly to the Boston bench and soon took a shift, showing no effects from the collision.
“It was my knee or leg,’’ said Chara, sounding nonplussed though noting that he needed the extra time to straighten up. “Yeah, it took me a couple of seconds there. But, you know, it’s OK. It was kind of a stretching feeling that I felt.’’
With Nathan Horton and Adam McQuaid already injured, Boston’s overall game would be challenged greatly if Chara were dinged and out of duty. He once again led the ice time charts Sunday with 23:26 and finished plus-2 with two shots on net. He paired with rookie Dougie Hamilton, who was back in the lineup after being scratched (coach’s decision) Saturday.
Milan Lucic, who was scratched Saturday because of his indifferent play, was back in the lineup because of Horton’s undisclosed injury — suffered in a first-period tussle the day before with Jarome Iginla.
Lucic skated on left wing with David Krejci and Rich Peverley. He went his standard 0-0—0, but he did land three shots on net and led the Bruins with five hits. Florida’s Greg Rallo led the charts with six hits.
“A little bit more involved,’’ said Julien about Lucic. “You can’t go from zero to 60 in one game. It’s just a matter of him doing some things a little bit better, which he did today. We’ve got four games here before the end of the season and hopefully he continues to take some positive strides.’’
Tuukka Rask registered his fourth shutout this season.
A sometime visitor to Fenway Park, Rask did not hear all of David Ortiz’s speech Saturday in the memorable ceremony for the Marathon victims and survivors at the old ballyard, but the big DH’s blue language caught his ear.
“Yeah, I heard him say [it],” said Rask, repeating the four-letter word not fit for a family newspaper. “But I guess it was the FCC that said it was OK? So, I’m going to start dropping F-bombs now.’’
The line of Brad Marchand (6), Patrice Bergeron (7), and Tyler Seguin (2) landed 15 shots. Marchand tallied an empty-netter.
Florida goalie Jacob Markstrom stopped 36 of the 39 shots that made it to his doorstep.
“They can use their outside speed,” said Julien, noting that the wingers on that line have been encouraged to shoot more of late. “Bring pucks to the net. And again, I think they are doing a lot of great things, except they haven’t been able to score goals. I think it’s just a matter of time. They’ve got to stick with it in the offensive zone.
“They’ve just got to be around the net a little bit more.’’
Soderberg on board
Carl Soderberg, used some at center on a line with Chris Kelly and Jaromir Jagr, picked up his first career point, assisting on the Jagr goal that supplied the 1-0 lead . . . Wade Redden made his way back into the lineup and logged 13:40. The defenseman attempted three shots, none of which made it to the net. “I thought he was good today,’’ said Julien. “I mean, he’s a smart player, he moves the puck well, he sees the ice well, he makes pretty good decisions.’’ Redden paired with Dennis Seidenberg most of the time. Johnny Boychuk paired with Andrew Ference . . . David Krejci had a quiet afternoon, with but one shot on net in 14:19 . . . The Bruins will work out in Wilmington Monday morning before catching an early-afternoon flight to Philly for Tuesday night’s game.