BOSTON -- After beating Philadelphia, 5-1, last night in Montreal, the Canadiens did not hold a morning skate in preparation for their evening matchup with the Boston Bruins tonight at TD Garden.
Health permitting, this will be the first time Montreal forward Max Pacioretty and Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara have been on the ice together since the incident last March, when Chara hit Pacioretty into the stanchion between the benches at the Bell Centre. Pacioretty suffered a fractured vertebrae and concussion, but has recovered and now leads the Canadiens with 9 points (4 goals). He scored twice against the Flyers.
After practice Wednesday, Chara responded to a question about being on the ice with Pacioretty by just saying "I'm looking forward to playing the game."
Pacioretty's early-season success means the Bruins will have to keep an eye on him for the right reasons.
"I can tell you honestly, the one thing we're happy about -- and that would be for anybody else -- is that he's healthy," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "As a player in the League, you don't want to see somebody end his career on an unfortunate accident. But what you want to see is a player come back and be healthy. As far as that's concerned, he's healthy, we've turned the page and now it's time to move on."
Bruins forward Benoit Pouliot was on the other side last season when the Chara hit on Pacioretty occurred. He doesn't expect anything extracurricular to unfold tonight.
"I'm sure Z, it's not something he wanted to do, obviously. It was a vulnerable position for 'Patch' and he got hurt. It's unfortunate that that happened, but I think it's in the past and we didn't really talk about it," Pouliot said. "I don't think it's something that … maybe the fans and them are anticipating something, but we're just playing our game. Big Z is Big Z; he's been awesome. So I don't think it's going to be a big deal."
Here are the lines and D pairs that finished the victory over the Flyers last night and are expected to face the Bruins:
Max Pacioretty - Tomas Plekanec - Brian Gionta
Michael Cammalleri - David Desharnais - Erik Cole
Travis Moen - Lars Eller - Andrei Kostitsyn
Mathieu Darche - Petteri Nokelainen - Mike Blunden
Hal Gill - Raphael Diaz
Josh Gorges - P.K. Subban
Yannick Weber - Jaroslav Spacek
Carey Price is expected to start in goal.