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At the Rink: Jets at Bruins

by Matt Kalman

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins have experience playing without their captain Zdeno Chara, and now they're going to have another chance to apply that experience.

Chara was ruled out of the Bruins' game Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets by coach Claude Julien. Chara hasn't played since sustaining an upper-body injury in a preseason game Sept. 24 against the New York Rangers.

With defenseman Dennis Seidenberg also out of the Bruins lineup while recovering from back surgery performed Sept. 24, Adam McQuaid is the Bruins' longest-tenured veteran remaining defenseman. He knows what the Bruins have to do to emulate the way they played when they went 11-7-1 when Chara missed 19 games because of a tear in the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee sustained Oct. 23, 2014.

"I guess it goes without saying you don't replace someone like that," McQuaid said. "But again, it's kind of been by committee when we have injuries like this. You focus on the guys who are in the lineup and everyone just chips in and does their job."

McQuaid and partner Torey Krug could wind up getting the difficult assignment of matching against the Jets’ top line of Bryan Little centering Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler.

In addition to their experience from last season, the Bruins played almost the entire preseason without Chara.

"Like I said, injuries happen," McQuaid said. "And at any point in time it could be any guy. So you look at the guys that we have, and again we've got a deep roster that way. And many guys have shown what they're capable of. And again, you don't dwell on the what-ifs and this and that. The guys that are going will be ready to go."

Wheeler, who was Chara's teammate for three seasons, knows how important Chara is to the Bruins.

"You never want to see a guy hurt, first and foremost," Wheeler said. "So you want to see [Chara] back on the ice as soon as possible. But it's never much fun playing against him with that said. And I mean that as a compliment. He's one of the more intimidating, tough guys to play against in the NHL. So he's a big hole to fill for sure."

Here are the projected lineups:


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler

Mathieu Perreault - Mark Scheifele - Nikolaj Ehlers

Alexander Burmistrov - Adam Lowry - Drew Stafford

Chris Thorburn - Andrew Copp - Nicolas Petan

Ben Chiarot - Dustin Byfuglien

Toby Enstrom - Tyler Myers

Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba

Ondrej Pavelec

Michael Hutchinson

Injured: Grant Clitsome (back)

Scratched: Adam Pardy, Paul Postma, Anthony Peluso


Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Loui Eriksson

Matt Beleskey - David Krejci - David Pastrnak

Jimmy Hayes - Ryan Spooner - Brett Connolly

Chris Kelly - Joonas Kemppainen - Zac Rinaldo

Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid

Joe Morrow - Kevan Miller

Matt Irwin - Zach Trotman

Tuukka Rask

Jonas Gustavsson

Injured: Zdeno Chara (upper body), Dennis Seidenberg (back)

Scratched: Tyler Randell, Colin Miller

Status report: Kemppainen, 27, is making his NHL debut after signing with the Bruins on May 21. He had spent the past nine seasons playing in Liiga, Finland's top professional league. … Ehlers, the ninth pick of the 2014 NHL Draft, and Petan, a second-round draft pick (No. 43) in the 2013, will make their NHL debuts for the Jets.

Who's hot: Scheifele led the Jets with three goals and five points during the preseason. ... Marchand ended last season on a two-game goal streak.

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