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Canadiens edged by Bruins

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

Mike Johnson marked his Canadiens debut with the Habs' only goal of the night.

MONTREAL (CP) - Bruins head coach Dave Lewis hopes towering defenceman Zdeno Chara's sore foot will be all right.

Chara scored a goal but also took a blistering shot on the foot and left after only one period of the Boston Bruins' 3-1 NHL pre-season win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.

He'll have x-rays on Thursday in Boston to see if the injury is serious. Lewis said it may not be that bad.

"He wanted to continue on in the game," the Bruins' new coach said. "The training staff felt it was best to ice it, elevate it and wrap it up. He was walking around fine after the game."

Chara, a former Ottawa Senator, signed a five-year, US$37.5 million contract as an unrestricted free agent with Boston this summer.

He was killing a two-man Montreal advantage early in the game when Sheldon Souray, Montreal's hardest shooter, hammered a slap shot off his foot from close range.

Surprisingly, Chara stayed in the game until the end of the period and even scored his second goal in as many nights on a rocket from the high slot during a Boston two-man advantage at 8:26.

Jeff Hoggan added a goal at 19:21 and Brad Boyes scored into an empty net with two seconds left to play for Boston (2-1-0), which beat the Canadiens 5-2 on Tuesday at the Bell Centre.

Newcomer Mike Johnson scored in the second frame for Montreal, which dropped to 0-2-0.

Lewis was pleased with how his remaining five defencemen responded after Chara left the match, although the victory had more to do with the solid play of goaltender Hannu Toivonen, who stopped 24 of 25 shots in the two periods he played.

"I thought everyone responded really well," said Lewis. "Young guys had to play both sides, they got to play against top lines.

"It was a really good process for them to develop."

Montreal's new coach Guy Carbonneau used an entirely new 20-man lineup from the previous game and liked what he saw from the young players.

He said the only line that didn't shine was that of newcomer Sergei Samsonov with veterans Alex Kovalev and Mike Ribeiro, who looked like they will need time to form chemistry.

"What we did these two nights is good for the organization," said Carbonneau, who is to make his first cuts on Thursday. "We were able see what certain guys could do in different situations.

"We even put Kovalev and Samsonov on the penalty kill once, although it didn't work that well. But each game, we'll try different things."

David Aebischer started in goal for Montreal and allowed two goals on 13 shots. Yann Danis came in at 10:31 of the second period and stopped all 13 shots he faced.

On Montreal's goal, Tomas Plekanec intercepted Andrew Alberts' clearing attempt and saw his rebound lifted in from the doorstep by Johnson at 16:45 of the second period.

Notes - The Canadiens observed a moment of silence for Floyd Curry, a checking winger on their Stanley Cup teams of the 1950s, who died this week at 81. . . Goaltender Cristobal Huet was presented with the Roger Crozier Award and $25,000, which was donated to two children's charities, for posting the NHL's highest save percentage last season - .929.

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