BOSTON -- Zdeno Chara is in the lineup for the Boston Bruins in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden on Thursday.
Matt Grzelcyk will miss his third consecutive game; the defenseman has been in concussion protocol since being injured in Game 2.
Chara, who is a Bruins-best plus-12 during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, sustained a facial injury in the second period of a 4-2, series-tying loss in Game 4 on Monday when he was hit in the face on a shot by Blues forward Brayden Schenn in the second period.
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The defenseman, who is Bruins captain, sat on the bench for the third period wearing a full face shield but did not play. He did not practice Wednesday, and wore a clear jaw protector attached to his helmet at the morning skate and in warmups Thursday.
"At this time of the playoffs everyone has injuries and there are challenges that you have to overcome to play," Chara wrote in answer to media questions, released by the Bruins. "I'm no different than any player on either team."
Boston coach Bruce Cassidy specified that Chara had never been ruled out, other than for the third period of Game 4.
"The doctor has to give him the green light, then it would be his call," Cassidy said Thursday morning. "If the doctor doesn't, then he has no say in the matter."
Boston has seven defensemen in its lineup, with Steven Kampfer to play his third game this postseason, his first since May 9. Forward David Backes was scratched.
Blues coach Craig Berube said the Bruins lineup would not cause St. Louis to increase its attack against the Boston defensemen.
"I'm not sure if it really changes, to be honest with you," Berube said. "That's our game. That's when we're successful, so we've got to do it no matter what. We expect them to play. That's the way we look at it. Either way, that's our game, that's how we've got to have success or we will have success."
Grzelcyk, a defenseman who has seven points (three goals, four assists) in 19 postseason games, was injured in Game 2 when he was hit by Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist, and did not play in Games 3 or 4.
Bruins players marveled at Chara's ability to return to the lineup three days after such a significant injury.
"He wants to win more than anything and he shows that every single night," Boston forward Brad Marchand said. "You never know what he's playing through. He keeps everything quiet and to him and he's not worried about complaining about injuries or anything like that. He's willing to play with one leg, one arm, it doesn't matter. He's out there working as hard as he can and sacrificing his body because he knows, at the end of the day, you win, it's worth everything you go through.
"Not everyone has that. You can't teach that, you can't push that on people. It's either in you or it's not. He's able to play through pain, a lot more pain than most people. Probably anyone in this league. It's incredible to see. I know I couldn't do what he does."
Boston defenseman John Moore said, "It's a whole other level of respect that they're willing to do what they're doing for the team, as selfless as that is. It's the mark of a true leader. You're just honored to be playing with someone like that.
"It's something you'll tell your kids about in terms of toughness and life lessons and showing up to work no matter what. If he's doing that, then you look at yourself: Why can't I bring my best? I think that reverberates throughout the room."
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