Greetings from TD Garden, where tonight the Bruins, with team captain Zdeno Chara in their lineup, will take on the now-playoff- relevant Sabres, who have inched into the No. 8 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.
There is potential legal action against Chara brewing in Quebec, where Habs fans and political grandstanders remain outraged that he wasn’t suspended for his hit on Max Pacioretty in the second period Tuesday night. But absent any RCMPs being dispatched here with handcuffs and manacles, the Trencin Tower of Power will patrol the blueline against the pesky Sabres, who have lost only once in regulation in their last eight outings (5-1-2), enabling them to eclipse the Canes for the No. 8 spot.
Only a smattering of Bruins worked out this morning during the club’s optional day-of-game skate. Beyond the subtext of Qubec’s mounting rage about L’affaire Chara, the biggest question surrounding the Bruins is whether they can find a way to turn on the pilot light for their dormant power play that now stands 0-for-16 across the last seven games. They haven’t potted one on the man-advantage since Feb. 18 in Ottawa.
”The top end of our power play has been a lot better,” noted coach Claude Julien. ”We’re establishing better shots (from the point). It’s been a lot more stable up there, but where it has to get better is down below.”
Overall, the Boston power play needs more movement. It has been far too stagnant since the arrival of Tomas Kaberle as the Mr. Fix It point man. It’s as if the forwards have fallen asleep since the pairing of Kaberle and Chara as the long-range tandem.
Only 15 games remaining in the regular season after tonight.
Puck drop: 7 p.m.
Record: Sabres, 32-26-8; Bruins, 38-20-8.
TV/radio info: NESN (Jack Edwards, Andy Brickley, Naoko Funayama), 98.5 The Sports Hub (Dave Goucher, Bob Beers)
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Rich Peverley
Mark Recchi-Chris Kelly-Michael Ryder
Tyler Seguin-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Tomas Kaberle-Dennis Seidenberg
Matt Bartkowski-Adam McQuaid
Healthy scratches: Danny Paille.
Storylines: Julien tweaked his lines during Wednesday’s practice and tonight will be the debut of the Marchand-Bergeron-Peverley trio. Peverley is a bit of a shooter and could get more looks with Bergeron instead of Kelly as his pivot. Peverley, 1-1–2 since arriving on the Boston roster, has squeezed off 10 shots in seven games with the Black-and-Gold….Look for Thomas between the pipes. He sat out Tuesday’s game in Montreal, where Rask fell into a 2-0 hole in the first period….Steve Kampfer, recovering from a concussion, rode the bike for 15 minutes on Wednesday, but experienced a headache during the evening–a symptom that likely will mean he’ll have to back off his dryland-only workouts slightly….Andrew Ference, who will miss his sixth straight game due to injury (undisclosed), could be back in uniform Tuesday night in Columbus, according to Julien…Tonight’s guys in stripes: referees Ian Walsh and Brad Watson; linesmen Derek Nansen and Tony Sericolo….Rene Rancourt gets the night off Stars ‘n’ Stripes duty. Jillian Cardarelli will give it the Francis Scott Key treatment.