Chara-less Bruins make a stop in St. Louis
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Bruins will try to pick up a third straight victory on Thursday night without defenseman Zdeno Chara as they visit the St. Louis Blues.
Chara will miss this game as well as Saturday's home contest against Ottawa due to him being selected to carry Slovakia's flag on Friday during the Opening Ceremonies for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
The 36-year-old Chara has 13 goals and 13 assists in 54 games this season, and the captain will be replaced by David Warsofsky in the lineup.
Coach Claude Julien isn't expecting his club's performance on the back end to suffer due to the brief loss of Chara.
"I think it's going to be important that our whole D corps does a good job there. So you can't put all the burden on one guy's shoulder," said Julien on Boston's official website. "And as much Zee is a big part of that back end, other guys have done a great job in making our whole D corps pretty solid. So I would have to expect the same thing."
The Bruins won for the sixth time in seven games on Tuesday with a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Tuukka Rask made 27 saves and Jarome Iginla backed the effort with a goal and an assist.
Milan Lucic and Daniel Paille also registered goals for the Bruins, who lead the Tampa Bay Lightning by six points for first place in the Atlantic Division.
"I thought it was a strong game. The guys worked hard," said Chara.
The Blues come into this meeting second in the Central Division with 80 points, four back of the first-place Chicago Blackhawks, and with points in five of their last six games. They are 4-1-1 in that span.
St. Louis, though, is coming off a 5-4 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators in which it failed to hold a third-period lead.
The Blues held a 3-1 advantage going into the third period, but the Sens ripped off three quick goals to go in front. Jordan Leopold saved a point by scoring a game-tying tally with 8:52 left in regulation before Ottawa came through in a five-round shootout.
T.J. Oshie had a goal and an assist for St. Louis, which also received markers from Brenden Morrow and David Backes. Jaroslav Halak stopped 27 shots in the setback and Jaden Schwartz finished with two assists.
"The boys played hard tonight against a hard-working team," Oshie said. "We want the two points but we'll take the one point and focus on Thursday."
The Blues fell to 9-0-1 versus the Eastern Conference at home this season and lost for the first time in 19 games (18-0-1) at home this season when scoring three goals or more. They are also now 25-0-4 when leading after two periods.
St. Louis concludes a four-game homestand on Saturday, but will first try to avoid a fourth straight loss as the hosting club versus the Bruins.
The Blues' 3-2 shootout victory in Boston on Nov. 21 marked the seventh straight win by the road team in this series and gave St. Louis its 10th triumph in its past 13 encounters with Boston.
Halak is 7-3-0 with two shutouts and a 1.86 goals against average in 10 games versus the Bruins, making 29 saves in the earlier meeting this season.
Rask stopped 24 shots in that setback, falling to 1-0-2 with a 1.58 GAA versus the Blues.
02/06 11:23:05 ET