TORONTO - If you're the Boston Bruins, success comes from defense.
When your main defensive weapon is not available, your method for success doesn't change.
Keeping that game plan, the Bruins picked up a 4-1 win over the Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Saturday night in their first test of at least a month without captain Zdeno Chara.
"I don't think we changed anything," said Dougie Hamilton, who tied a career high with a three-point night off a goal and two assists.
"I think it's just a lot of focus and everybody knew without him, everyone had to step up. So I don't think it's one guy - it's everyone as a team and our D corps and everything, and I thought we did well. Probably our best defensive game this year."
The Bruins sustained the full 60-minute effort they had been looking for, after coming up short earlier this week against the Isles.
"Well, we were more structured," said Head Coach Claude Julien. "Sometimes, there are things that brings it to attention."
"We spoke about that the last couple of days, about making sure we got better, and not just because Zdeno got hurt but because we weren't playing well enough within our structure."
TORONTO - The Bruins face off against the Maple Leafs on Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre in the first meeting between the two division rivals this season.
Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
The Bruins are currently below .500, nine game into the season at 4-5-0, and are looking to bounce back from their 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday night. Despite a losing effort in that game, Boston had a strong third period that they'd like to replicate for a full 60 minutes on Saturday night.
Meanwhile, the Leafs have been waiting around for the Black and Gold since Tuesday, when they took a 5-2 win from the Isles.
Saturday night in Toronto is the first game Boston will play without captain Zdeno Chara in the lineup. Bruins General Manager announced on Friday morning that Chara is out four to six weeks with a left knee injury (PCL tear).
"It's going to have to be done by committee here," Adam McQuaid said following the Bruins' optional skate on Saturday morning at the ACC. "And if everyone just chips in and does what they do, and worries about that, that's all we can do."
"It's a great test for us," said Torey Krug. "I think everyone in here is excited about the opportunity to come together and put together a complete team effort."
"Anytime you have a big part of your team go down, the rest of the team has to come together and step up and fill that void, so it's a good opportunity for guys that maybe don't play those minutes and we're excited about the challenge."
BostonBruins.com - The Bruins learned on Friday they'll be without captain Zdeno Chara for roughly 4-6 weeks.
Boston's leader suffered a tear in the ligament in the back of his left knee (posterior cruciate ligament) during Thursday night's game against the New York Islander. He won't require surgery, as of now, and could be back sooner than four weeks.
But that leaves at least a month that the Bruins will have to make due without their go-to defenseman.
On Friday, the Bruins called in reinforcements from the Providence Bruins, recalling Zach Trotman and Joe Morrow on an emergency basis. Both blueliners joined the Bruins for practice at TD Garden, before the team traveled to Toronto.
Trotman made his NHL debut with Boston in 2013-14, and has played in two career games. Morrow has never seen NHL action. This marks his first recall with the Bruins. He was acquired on July 4, 2013, in the seven-player trade with Dallas that also brought in Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser.
With Trotman and Morrow in the mix for the foreseeable future, that give the Bruins seven healthy defensemen on their roster. Kevan Miller is still sidelined by a dislocated right shoulder. He is progressing, but there is no timetable on his return.
BOSTON - On Friday morning, General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced to reporters at TD Garden that defenseman Zdeno Chara will be out 4-6 weeks with a tear in the posterior cruciate ligament of his left knee.
Chara suffered the injury at 11:15 into the first period of Thursday night's game against the New York Islanders at the Garden, when he landed a heavy hit that knocked down John Tavares at the top of the left circle in the defensive zone.
"This is completely different, separate, isolated from the other ligaments that are more critical in the maneuvering of the knee, so good news is, it's isolated to that ligament," Chiarelli told media during the press conference.
"Bad news is he's out 4-6 weeks. Might be a little earlier than four weeks, but a conservative time frame would be 4-6 weeks."
BOSTON - Defenseman Zdeno Chara left the first period of Thursday night's game against the New York Islanders at TD Garden, and did not return.
"No report yet," Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters postgame around 9:40 p.m., following the Bruins' 3-2 loss the Isles.
"We won’t know anything until he sees the proper people in the medical staff. So, nothing right now."
Chara played five shifts in the first period. His final shift ended with 8:12 left in the period. Earlier in the minute-long shift, the defenseman landed a heavy hit on John Tavares.
"When it's your Captain [leaving], it's definitely hard to take," said alternate captain Patrice Bergeron. "That being said, we've dealt through adversity in the past and it shouldn't be an excuse."
BOSTON - The Bruins host the New York Islanders at TD Garden on Thursday night, looking to earn their first three-game winning streak of the season.
Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
The Bruins' lineup appeared status quo as they went through their morning pregame routine, with the exception of goaltender Niklas Svedberg expected between the pipes. Former Bruin backup Chad Johnson is expected in goal for the Islanders.
"I know firsthand what kind of a team he's with over there and how goalie-friendly the team really is, so it's nice for him to find a good situation there," said Johnson, who battled with Svedberg during last season's training camp.
The Bruins are hoping to build on their two most recent victories, a 5-3 win over San Jose and a 4-0 shutout of Buffalo, which showcased a much sounder defensive game than the start of the season.
The turnaround has been based on a few factors from Head Coach Claude Julien’s standpoint.
“Compete level, our speed, especially through the neutral zone, I think we’re playing at a higher pace. When I say compete, also the battle along the walls has been better,” said Julien. “Those are the things that really stick out to me is compete, the pace of our game and how hard we’re battling along the walls lately.”
BOSTON - With 24.7 left on the clock in the third period on Tuesday night at TD Garden, Patrice Bergeron could breathe a sigh of relief, and the Boston faithful followed suit.
David Krejci deked and fired in the empty-netter to seal a 5-3 win over the San Jose Sharks. It pulled the Bruins back to .500 with a 4-4-0 record on the season.
The Bruins had been holding a 4-3 lead over San Jose with 4:09 left in regulation, when Bergeron was caught with a four-minute high-sticking penalty.
"I think it was pretty huge from our group, especially when one of your best penalty killers is in the box for the last four minutes," Head Coach Claude Julien said postgame from TD Garden.
"You’ve got to give those guys as much credit as anyone for the win," said Milan Lucic.
Boston laid out for four blocks during the penalty kill, Tuukka Rask came up with five huge saves, and David Krejci and Chris Kelly combined for four defensive zone faceoff wins. Zdeno Chara stayed on the ice for nearly the entire penalty kill, with Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid combining for a strong defensive effort battling along the walls and around the net.
"I thought our guys, for the last four minutes, did an unbelievable job of battling through," Julien added. "So our special teams I thought were really good for us tonight, and we needed that against that team."
The Bruins and Sharks alternated power-play goals to start the game.
Brad Marchand put Boston on the board with his first goal of the season at 13:57 into the first period, when he walked into the right circle and fired one past Antti Niemi.
BOSTON - The Bruins host the San Jose Sharks at TD Garden on Tuesday night, looking to build off of their road trip and begin to establish dominance at home.
Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. ET (NESN, 9.85 The Sports Hub).
With Monday's news that defenseman Kevan Miller is out indefinitely with a dislocated right shoulder, suffered at the end of a fight on Saturday in Buffalo, Matt Bartkowski is expected to slot into the lineup. It will mark his second game of the season.
Bartkowski was paired with Adam McQuaid during Tuesday morning's pregame skate at TD Garden and also during Monday's practice.
Torey Krug moved up to the second pairing with Dennis Seidenberg. Both Krug and Seidenberg are left shots. Based on the morning skate, Krug will start out on the right side side, though both defensemen have experience playing on the off side.
"We played last year together - I like playing with Torey. Like everybody knows, he's a great skater, he can move the puck, can move his legs," Seidenberg said following the skate. "I think we complement each other very well and I'm looking forward to it."
BostonBruins.com - Matt Bartkowski has an opportunity to claim playing time.
With Monday's announcement that Kevan Miller is out indefinitely with a dislocated right shoulder, Bartkowksi could be sliding into the lineup on Tuesday night as the Bruins host San Jose at TD Garden.
Miller sustained the injury during a fight in Saturday's game against Buffalo.
Through the Bruins' first seven games of the season, Bartkowski has been a healthy scratch for six of them, watching the action from up in the press box. Looking at his game log, one might naturally label him the Bruins' seventh defenseman.
That's not the way Bartkowski has approached it, though.
"You just have to prepare every day," the defenseman said following Monday's practice at Ristuccia Arena. "Prepare as if you're going to play and that's pretty much all you can do in the situation I'm in right now."
"My mindset isn't that I'm in the seventh defensemen role, if that's what you're asking. If I am the seventh on any given night, then I just work hard in the morning after skate and ride the bike, and that's all I can do."
Injuries happen. The Bruins knew at some point during the season, they would be faced with this situation.
"Yeah, you never want to see it under this circumstance. Millsy's a good friend of mine. I never want to see any of these D get hurt," said Bartkowski, when asked by a reporter about getting into the lineup. "But like you said, it's good to get back in and play some games."
BostonBruins.com - General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced on Monday afternoon that defenseman Kevan Miller has sustained a dislocated right shoulder and will be out indefinitely.
The blueliner suffered the injury during Saturday's game in Buffalo, when he dropped the gloves with Nicolas Deslauriers in the first period. He did not return to the game.
"I think when he fell, he hurt himself, and he came off with pain," Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters on Saturday night from the First Niagara Center.
Miller was absent from Monday's practice, as the Bruins were back on the ice at Ristuccia Arena following Sunday's off day and their three game road trip.
The Bruins skated with six defensemen at practice, and Matt Bartkowski is expected to slot into the lineup on Tuesday night against San Jose with Miller out.
"You know, we have some depth. We talk about that all the time," said Julien. "If there's an area I thought we had lots of it - we talked about it during camp, had to make our decisions who was on the back end - so here's an opportunity to take advantage of that depth we talk about."
"You never want to see it under this circumstance. Millsy's a good friend of mine. I never want to see any of these D get hurt," said Bartkowski, when asked about slotting into the lineup with Miller sidelined indefinitely. "But, like you said, it's good to get back in and play some games."