The Zdeno Chara-less Bruins passed their first test with flying colors.

Dougie Hamilton had a goal and two assists Saturday. (Getty Images)

Dougie Hamilton had a goal and two assists Saturday. (Getty Images)

The Zdeno Chara-less Bruins passed their first test with flying colors.

Dougie Hamilton had a three-point night and the Bruins played one of their better defensive games of the season in beating the Maple Leafs, 4-1, at Air Canada Centre Saturday. Tuukka Rask‘s shutout bid was broken up when Richard Panik scored during a delayed penalty at 14:27 of the third period.

Carl Soderberg opened the scoring for Boston, scoring a power play goal for his third tally of the season at 3:27 of the first period. That score would hold up until David Krejci went to the net hardly contested by Phil Kessel and beat Jonathan Bernier on the rebound of his own shot at 15:58 of the second.

With the Bruins killing an Adam McQuaid penalty in the third, Daniel Paille stole a puck from Dion Phaneuf in the Toronto zone and sent it to Gregory Campbell in front, who made it 3-0. Hamilton made it 4-0 just 1:38 later after outracing Jake Gardiner and another Toronto defender and fired a wrist shot over the glove of Bernier, ending the Toronto starter’€™s night.

With the win, the Bruins evened their record to 5-5-0 on the season. The B’€™s will next play Tuesday when they host the Wild at TD Garden.

Here are some notes from the game:

- Hamilton had a particularly strong game for Boston, picking up an assist in each of the first two periods before scoring in the third. Though his helper on Soderberg’€™s goal game as a result of a lucky bounce, Hamilton made a good decision to race after a missed pass from Loui Eriksson from Patrice Bergeron down low. Hamilton moved up to get the puck at the right circle, seemingly breaking his stick on the shot as the puck trickled to Bergeron, whose bid then went off Stuart Percy on its way to Soderberg on the doorstep.

- Speaking of Hamilton, it appeared that Rask was barking at the defenseman after Panik scored in front of the net. On Hamilton’€™s next shift, he was extra-physical with James van Riemsdyk when the Leafs winger went to the net. Both players were assessed roughing minors.

- Dennis Seidenberg led the team with 25:59 of ice time, which was far and away tops on the team. Hamilton was second with 22:31.

- The game gave Krejci a six-game point streak. After being kept off the score sheet in his first game of the season, Krejci now has three goals and five assists for eight points over the last six contests.

- The Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid pairing was Boston’€™s third pairing to begin the season, but without Chara, everyone has to step up. That was apparent in the first period, when Krug’€™s pairing played against Phil Kessel on four of Kessel’€™s seven 5-on-5 shifts.

- Zach Trotman made his season debut, skating on the third defensive pairing with Matt Bartkowski. The lineup was as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Griffith
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Kelly – Soderberg- Eriksson
Paille – Campbell – Gagne

Seidenberg – Hamilton
Krug – McQuaid
Bartkowski – Trotman

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Even Patrice Bergeron has struggled this season.</p>
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The Bruins can’€™t afford to lose another top defensemen ‘€” they’€™ve really only got two left ‘€” so things looked pretty scary in Friday’€™s practice when Dougie Hamilton appeared to be in serious pain after getting hit in the right hand with a shot.

Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton

The Bruins can’€™t afford to lose another top defensemen ‘€” they’€™ve really only got two left ‘€” so things looked pretty scary in Friday’€™s practice when Dougie Hamilton appeared to be in serious pain after getting hit in the right hand with a shot.

After getting hit, Hamilton took his glove off and grimaced for a few minutes as he repeatedly shook his hand. He resumed drills, but shook his hand after each turn and repeatedly went to the bench to get checked on by a trainer.

Following the practice, Hamilton said that his hand was OK, but there was a big red mark where the puck had clearly hit him. The fact that he finished practice is a good sign that the B’€™s survived the scare.

Hamilton skated on the team’s top pairing with Dennis Seidenberg in Friday’s practice. He has been used as Zdeno Chara‘s partner this season, but Chara is out for at least a month due to a torn PCL.

The pairings in practice were as follows:

Seidenberg – Hamilton
Krug – McQuaid
Bartkowski – Trotman

 

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Joe McDonald joins the guys to talk to about the Chara injury and how the Bruins will move forward without him.

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Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday morning that Zdeno Chara‘€™s injury is a torn posterior cruciate ligament that will keep him out for four to six weeks. Chiarelli said that Chara does not need surgery.

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday morning that Zdeno Chara‘€™s injury is a torn posterior cruciate ligament that will keep him out for four to six weeks. Chiarelli said that Chara does not need surgery.

The Bruins also recalled defensemen Joe Morrow and Zach Trotman from Providence Friday. Chiarelli said that the multiple defensemen callup was partially due to “a couple of little things” players are battling, but that he thinks “it will be OK.”

Chiarelli hinted that he will not look to the trade market for a replacement for Chara, responding to such a question with “four to six weeks, we’€™ll have him back.”

The B’€™s GM also said that Chara could return before the four-week mark, and that the four-to-six week window was a conservative estimate.

The Bruins’ defensive pairings in Friday’s practice were as follows:

Seidenberg – Hamilton
Krug – McQuaid
Bartkowski – Trotman

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The toughest part of Thursday night’s return to Boston for Johnny Boychuk came during the national anthem.

The toughest part of Thursday night’s return to Boston for Johnny Boychuk came during the national anthem.

“Just feeling the atmosphere and being back on the ice,” Boychuk said. “I tried not to look anywhere but just concentrate, and be prepared for the game. That was the most difficult part, but after the first couple shifts, then it’€™s time to get going.”

Boychuk was a plus-1 in 23 minutes and 25 shifts in the Islanders’ 3-2 win over the his former team at TD Garden. Only one of his “Johnny Rockets” found its way on net and it was stopped. He had two blocked shots and two giveaways. Boychuk did not figure in the scoring but was just happy to be apart of a night of appreciation from the Bruins fans who had watched him grow up in Boston.

“It was an interesting night,” Boychuk said. “You’€™re playing against that team, and you grew up with them, playing, for the last six years, you see them and you’€™re the opposition now. Looch [Milan Lucic] steamrolled me, so I’€™ll get a nice chuckle out of that when I see him. They’€™re a good team. We came in here, we were determined, and we held them off in the last five minutes. They had some good chances, but the other ex-Bruin [Chad Johnson] made some great saves for us, and kept us in the game when we needed it.”

How long was it before he really knew he was back in Boston as the opposition?

Until Looch [Milan Lucic] hit me. That’€™s when I realized I was playing against them,” Boychuk said. “It was a good hit by him, I was just trying to hold him up, but with his strength and speed, he just steamrolled me.”

As is usually the case for any player that returns to Boston for the first time since leaving, it was an emotionally draining experience.

“It was a tough game, just seeing across the ice, you’€™re playing against your friends,” he said. “But when you’€™re on the ice, it’€™s obviously business. I’€™m just happy we got the two points, and I look forward to the next game.”

During player introductions, Bruins public address announcer Jim Martin quickly moved onto the next name after the crowd cheered him. But fans would have more time to cheer Boychuk just over 15 minutes later. During the first TV timeout, the Bruins ran a video highlight on the scoreboard of his accomplishments in Boston with the Bruins, just like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce received from the Celtics last season and countless Red Sox players have received in years past at Fenway.

“It’€™s just classy,” Boychuk said of the tribute. “The fans, I heard them the whole time, except for when I got my stick whacked by Kells [Chris Kelly] and they almost scored, they were chanting my name.

Then there was the matter of the win itself, a victory that improved the upstart Islanders to 5-2-0 on the season.

“That’€™s such a good team to play against,” Boychuk said. “For us to come in here and for us to come in here and win, it shows what kind of team we have. We just have to keep doing that, keep doing the simple things, and look forward to the next game.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia