Zdeno Chara has already faced the Montreal Canadiens since his controversial hit on Max Pacioretty last March. The big Boston defenseman helped the Bruins to a seven-game victory over the Habs in the first round of the 2011 playoffs.
But Chara still hasn’t faced Pacioretty on the ice. Until tonight at the TD Garden.
While Chara isn’t making a big deal out of it – “I’m excited to play the game” – it’s always a story when two players who were involved in a contentious incident meet for the first time.
Boston coach Claude Julien was saying all the right things prior to tonight’s contest.
“I can tell you one thing we’re happy about honestly, and it would be for anybody else, is that [Pacioretty] is healthy. As a player in the league, you don’t want to see somebody end his career on an unfortunate accident. But what you want to see is a player to come back and be healthy. As far as that’s concerned, he’s healthy, we’ve turned the page and now it’s time to move on,” said Julien, as reported by the Boston Herald.
At any rate, you have to think Pacioretty will be more focused on continuing his recent run of play than taking any sort of revenge on Chara (which would be a tough thing to do anyway). The 22-year-old Montreal forward leads his team in scoring with nine points, including two goals and an assistant in the Habs’ vital 5-1 win over the Flyers last night at the Bell Centre.
The Canadiens aren’t out of the woods yet though. They’re still last in the Northeast with a 2-5-2 record. And with back-to-back games against their biggest rivals (the two teams meet again in Montreal on Saturday), there’s the potential for things to take a serious turn for the worse. Which is to say, the firing of assistant coach Perry Pearn might not be the final move GM Pierre Gauthier makes. Head coach Jacques Martin is the likeliest next casualty.
The Bruins, meanwhile, have their own problems. The defending champions are off to a slow start. Some would say it’s a predictably slow start after a short summer of celebrating. But their 3-5-0 record gives them just as many points as the Habs.