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"All Hands on Deck" After Chara Leaves Game vs. Blues

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins /

BOSTON - Captain Zdeno Chara played one shift in the second period of Tuesday night's game against the St. Louis Blues, and did not play for the rest of the night.


Chara made his way down the tunnel to the Bruins' locker room around the 3:23 mark of the period, when a St. Louis goal was being reviewed for goaltender interference. 


"No. I've got nothing on him yet," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following the game, which ended in a 4-2 loss for Boston at TD Garden. 

The Bruins had earned a 1-0 lead in the first period, thanks to David Backes' power play goal against his former team. 


Video: STL@BOS: Backes goes five-hole against former team


At 3:23 into the second, a drive from defenseman Colton Parayko banked off Jori Lehtera and in behind Tuukka Rask. The Bruins used their Coach's Challenge to contest goalie interference. The goal stood. 


Dominic Moore put the Black & Gold back on top with a shorthanded tally in the second, but the Blues followed up with two goals in the second half of the frame to take a 3-2 lead into the third. Both came after rebounds, and after extended time in the Bruins' zone. 


"They're team that plays the possession game and hangs onto the puck and that causes issues, especially when you don't have a guy like Zee to overcome those things, that makes it a tough night for sure," said Torey Krug, who logged a team-high 24:44.


"He's our captain, our leader, and he plays in all situations, so when he leaves, it's noticeable," said Krug. "I thought our guys did a decent job of stepping up, but they scored a couple goals right after he left and that obviously played a part in the game."


Video: Locker Room Raw: Torey Krug


"Especially when you go down to five D, it was all hands on deck," said John-Michael Liles, who was second behind Krug in time on ice (21:52) after Chara left. "So, you're trying to get some different pairings going and figure that out. Unfortunately they got a couple quick goals and it ended up costing us."


The Bruins were never out of the game. They outshot the Blues 17-7 in the third period, and 41-28 overall. Lehtera added the insurance empty-netter with 1:16 to go for the 4-2 final. 


"I think if you look at our third period, we certainly didn't look like a team that was demoralized," said Julien. "If anything, we were a team that was determined to go out there and try and win a hockey game."


"I liked our third period, we had some quality opportunities around the net area and that shows me that we weren't down on the situation," Julien said. "And that we were ready to fight through it."


"I just think we had a dry spell there in the second, they capitalized on a few chances, Zee's not in the game and it takes a little while to realize that life's going to move on, we'll be OK without the Big Man," said Backes. "As big a part of a team that he is, we did a good job of regrouping and then putting a little push there in the last part of the second and the third and a little chance on the rebound 6-on-5."


"Wish we had a different outcome, but not the case and now we've got to regroup and win a game in Ottawa."


The Bruins opened a stretch of three games in four nights on Tuesday. They'll next head to Ottawa for a Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Senators before hosting the Calgary Flames on Friday night at TD Garden. 


There will be no time to dwell on Chara's situation.


"Hopefully it's very temporary and he'll be back in short order, but if not, we've got to have different guys pick up the slack and move forward," said Backes. "He's obviously an awesome player - but we're going to have injuries to guys and we need to spread the wealth and all shoulder a little bit more load and find ways to win games."


While the forwards will add support, the Bruins' blueliners will no doubt be required to step up.


"Some of those guys on the back end I thought did a great job of being challenged to play more," said Julien. "Joe Morrow was one of those guys, and Brandon Carlo had to step up there. That's his first time he's played without his partner and it just goes to show how important Zee is to our hockey club, and to Brandon."


Through 18 games, Carlo and Chara had been paired together, forming a solid top pair of the Bruins. For the final 38 minutes of Tuesday's game, Carlo had to adjust. All of the blueliners - to more minutes and more responsibility - but Carlo put the onus on himself personally to be better. 


When the 20-year-old met with reporters postgame, he had a postgame stat sheet in has hand, and probably was not please to see a minus-2 next to his name. Carlo has been hovering around the top 10 of the entire league in plus-minus through the first month and half of the season. 


"I struggled a little bit in the second, for sure - definitely some responsibility on me for those goals," Carlo lamented. "But I think, regardless, I've got to play my game and play the right way regardless of who is across from me. Definitely a little more responsibility on myself too to get in better positions there and keep those ones out of the net."


Carlo has a great deal of pride. Speaking with reporters after the game, he was already focused on how he would use it as a learning experience.  


"The simplicity that I keep in my game has got to be there," said Carlo, who logged 20:01 in the game. "Just moving the pucks better, being stronger myself - but definitely a good experience for me, positively, to just take a step back and hopefully continue throughout next game and come back and be better."


Video: Carlo speaks after a 4-2 loss to St. Louis


Backes Welcomes Blues 


Backes knew it would be somewhat strange to go up against his former team for the first time in his career. He had played 740 games before ever facing the Blues until Tuesday night at TD Garden. 


He made it count with his fourth goal of the season, jamming in the puck on the power play to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead.


"It was certainly a good point in the game," said Backes. "You know, you're 10 minutes in, second power play and Krech keeps the puck in, gets it over to Torey who steps into one. A little tip, and find a rebound and slam it in, and it's certainly a good feeling - but I'd give it back if we could have won tonight and had a little bit more of a joyous occasion after the game here."


"Maybe a little weird at first, but once you realize you're wearing different jerseys and you're playing for keeps, get a couple of bumps - and I wish that we would have had a different outcome tonight. 


Bruins Reach 20,000 Franchise Goals 


Backes' goal at 7:44 of the first period marked the 20,000th goal in the history of the Bruins franchise. Boston became the second team in NHL history to reach that milestone, joining the Montreal Canadiens. 


Video: BOS Recap: Bruins' defense falters late in 4-2 loss

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