The already bitter rivalry between the Boston Bruins
and Montreal Canadiens
will resume Thursday (7 p.m. ET, TSN) at the TD Garden, with the added ingredient being this is the first time the teams will meet since Zdeno Chara
's hit on Max Pacioretty
that left the Montreal forward with a concussion and a broken vertebra.
The incident occurred late in the second period of the March 8 game at the Bell Centre, when Chara tried to angle Pacioretty into the boards near the Boston bench and ended up checking him into a metal stanchion.
The incident has been a talking point for the past two weeks and is reaching a boil now that the matchup between the two top teams in the Northeast Division looms on the horizon. Chara spoke of the incident after Wednesday's practice.
Chara said he's attempted to speak with Pacioretty regarding the hit, but has gotten no response.
"I've made a few attempts (to contact Pacioretty), but he hasn't responded back yet. So far, nothing. I'm glad he's doing much better and he's probably going to be playing based on the reports that we've heard. I'm glad he's going to be fine. That's good news."
-- Zdeno Chara
"I've made a few attempts (to contact Pacioretty), but he hasn't responded back yet. So far, nothing," Chara told reporters. "I'm glad he's doing much better and he's probably going to be playing based on the reports that we've heard. I'm glad he's going to be fine. That's good news."
The Canadiens have said Pacioretty is making strides in his recovery and could return for the playoffs. If the postseason started today, the third-seeded Bruins and sixth-seeded Canadiens would meet in the first round.
Chara said "we'll see" when asked if he felt the Canadiens would be looking for retribution for the hit.
Despite the revenge angle, Thursday's game should be more about the Northeast Division race. The Bruins enter with a three-point lead on the Canadiens, but Montreal has won nine of the past 11 regular-season meetings between the teams.
"If you look at the standings, it looks like (Bruins-Canadiens) could be the (playoff) matchup, so we'll see what's going to happen in the next 10 games," said Chara. "We all know it's a big game for both teams. The rivalry is there and the competition is there. We just need to focus on our game and establish what we're working on in the last game. We're focusing on our game.
"(The Canadiens) have a lot of skill and speed up front, and they're very good system-wise. It's tough to play against teams like that. You have to be in control. It's part of the game to be emotional and play with a lot of jump, but you have to keep a lot of it bottled up and not let emotions take over your game."