Bruins Blog

A Tale of Two Periods, and An Injury

Jen Fuller/Getty Images

By Tim Rosenthal, Bruins Daily

Poll any Bruins’ fan on who the team could least afford to lose to injury for an extended period of time, and Zdeno Chara’s name would be one that gets a big response.

Unfortunately for Bruins fans, that became a reality on Thursday night when the 6-foot-9 captain left the game with what was later reported to be a knee injury. Undoubtedly, Chara’s void was felt from the Black and Gold in their 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders at the TD Garden.

During the first period, Chara delivered one of his trademark hits to Islanders superstar John Tavares. Chara’s knee came in contact with Tavares during that hit, but the Bruins captain skated the very next shift before heading to the B’s locker room for further evaluation.


TSN’s Aaron Ward tweeted that Chara will miss 4-6 weeks with left knee ligament damage.

“He’s an irreplaceable player,” said Chris Kelly, who leads the team with seven points on the season after scoring his second goal of the year in the third period. “Obviously him not being out there, everyone notices – us and them.”

The Bruins announced Chara’s absence as soon as the puck dropped during the second period. That was just the beginning of the freefall during the middle twenty.
In a period where the Bruins’ defense was caught scrambling around, the Islanders’ youth pounced on their opportunity. First, it was Kyle Okposo slipping past Matt Bartkowski and Adam McQuaid to put home a rebound off of Niklas Svedberg to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead just 1:30 into the middle stanza. Midway through the second, Cal Clutterbuck was alone in the slot and took advantage of another defensive breakdown – with Dennis Seidenberg and Torey Krug defending – to put his team ahead by two.
As the Islanders circled around the attacking zone, the Bruins were playing one of their most uninspiring periods. A second period where they were outshot 12-6 and were outmuscled and outhustled to every loose puck.
“Breakdowns usually end up in goals against,” head coach Claude Julien said. “No doubt there were some tonight.”
Would this have happened with Chara on the ice? Maybe. After all, the Bruins didn’t have the best start to their game, and the captain himself was on the ice on Frans Neilsen’s tally at 6:21 of the first period. But his guidance could’ve helped whether he was out skating with Dougie Hamilton on a top pair, or on the bench giving instructions to the other defensemen.
“It’s always tough when a guy like that goes down,” said Seidenberg, who suffered a season ending knee injury last year. “But we have to embrace the opportunity and play better and make up for that, if possible.”
The third period began with little hope. But as time progressed, the Bruins, indeed, got better.
As desperation settled in, Kelly pulled his team within one. But despite a flurry of chances in a very good third period, the B’s couldn’t shake off the shaky performance from the second.
Bruins fans witnessed a lifeless second period, but a solid final stanza. With Chara missing for the foreseeable future, the former would rear its ugly head on a nightly basis. If the latter happens more often, then there’s a small glimmer of hope on the team’s season and their future as guys like Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug gain experience and minutes.
“When you lose your captain and one of your better defensemen, there’s no doubt it’s going to have an effect on your team,” Julien said. “We showed in the third that we’re able to handle it, so that’s my perspective on it. You’re going to lose guys during the season, those things happen. How you react to it and how you respond is what’s important.”
In a year that’s already been filled with questions, Chara’s injury could give the team an answer that no one hopes for.


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