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After seven straight games on the shelf, Bruins center Patrice Bergeron will find himself back atop the B’s depth chart and between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak for Monday’s road meeting against the Senators.

“It will really help [Brad Marchand] and [David Pastrnak],” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, who has experienced some quieter nights from his top two wingers in recent games, said of Bergeron’s return to the lineup. “They’re a good line and they function well as a threesome, so take any one of those three guys out and I think it hurts their performance.”

???? Patrice Bergeron on returning to the lineup tonight: “We took this extra time right now to make sure I wouldn’t have to go through [sitting out] and feel good for hopefully the remainder of the season.” pic.twitter.com/oSQshDMRVr — Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 9, 2019
Bergeron appeared in two games prior to this most recent seven-game absence, and recorded five assists and won 24 of 40 faceoffs. Bergeron’s production over that two-game stretch upon his initial return would indicate the team erring on the side of caution given their long-term goals after what was an obviously short summer, and with consideration for Bergeron’s chronic lower-body ailments.

“Obviously, you don’t want to miss [practice] time, but you hate to miss games,” Bergeron admitted. “If it needs to take a couple practices here and there and not miss games, obviously that’s what I’ll do. We took this extra time right now to make sure I wouldn’t have to go through that and feel good for hopefully the remainder of the season.”

The 34-year-old Bergeron has eight goals and 24 points in 21 appearances this season, with the Bruins posting a 14-3-4 record with No. 37 in the lineup this year (32 of a possible 42 points).

Tuukka Rask is expected to get the start in the Boston crease.

Rask took an overtime loss behind a 27-of-31 performance against the Blackhawks last Thursday, but comes into this contest with nine straight wins and a .949 save percentage in his last nine starts against the Senators.

The Senators will counter with Anders Nilsson.

With Bergeron back, the Bruins are expected to sit David Backes, Par Lindholm, and Connor Clifton as their healthy scratches.

Here are complete expected lines and pairings for the Bruins…

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Danton Heinen

Anders Bjork – Charlie Coyle – Brett Ritchie

Joakim Nordstrom – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner

Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo

John Moore – Matt Grzelcyk

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Boston Bruins’ Jack Studnicka celebrates the goal by Sean Kuraly during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Rangers in Boston, Friday, Nov. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

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By The Associated Press | MassLive
BOSTON (AP) — David Krejci scored 1:40 into overtime, David Pastrnak scored his league-leading 24th goal and the Boston Bruins beat the New York Rangers 3-2 on Friday for their sixth straight win.

Krejci’s goal, his fifth of the season, came on a left-circle wrist shot against an out-of-position Henrik Lundqvist after Pastrnak created space with a deke in the right circle before feeding Krejci through the slot.

Sean Kuraly also had a goal and Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves for the Bruins. Boston matched its longest winning streak of the season and its longest point streak at 10 games (7-0-3).

Pavel Buchnevich and Filip Chytil scored for the Rangers. Lundqvist had 24 saves as New York’s three-game winning streak was snapped.

Buchnevich’s fifth goal this season put New York up 1-0 with 5:46 to play in the first period. Buchnevich beat Halak high to the glove side on a shot from the low slot after Tony DeAngelo’s pass from the sideboards.

Chytil’s eighth of the season doubled the Rangers’ lead at 6:21 of the second. Chytil charged into the slot and scored five-hole on Halak after Ryan Strome’s shot from the right circle bounced off Halak right to Chytil.

Kuraly’s second of the year made it 2-1 with 1:32 left in the second. Jake DeBrusk’s blue-line shot caught a piece of Kuraly’s stick, bounced off the left post and trickled in after Lundqvist’s inadvertent stick swat.

Pastrnak tied it 4:27 into the third on a one-timer from the left circle after Krejci’s feed through the slot. Pastrnak finished November with 12 goals after also scoring 12 in October.

New York failed to convert on an extended power play after Boston’s Par Lindholm was assessed a double minor for high-sticking against Brendan Smith. Smith immediately grabbed his face and skated off the ice with 7:02 to go.

NOTES: Boston remained the only NHL team without a regulation home loss this season at 10-0-4. … Rangers C Artemi Panarin assisted on Chytil’s goal, giving him a team-record 23 points (7 goals, 16 assists) in November. Panarin has at least a point in 16 of his last 17 games and 20 of 24 this season. … Bruins C Patrice Bergeron (lower body) remains day-to-day after sitting out for the fifth time in seven games. … Lundqvist entered with the best career save percentage (.929) against the Bruins among all goalies with a minimum of 30 games against. Lundqvist allowed four goals on 31 shots before being pulled after two periods in New York’s 7-4 home loss to Boston on Oct. 27. … Boston debuted its newest alternate jersey, a black sweater with a large “B” logo on the front and yellow accent stripes. The logo is a throwback to the 1940-era Bruins teams that won two Stanley Cup titles.

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On the back of a really rough result in Ottawa, the Boston Bruins will look to turn things around against the league leading Washington Capitals.
Luckily for the Boston Bruins, they’re not the only team coming off a 5-2 loss. The Capitals fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets in their most recent fixture to that exact same scoreline. Both teams go into the game ever so slightly wounded, no doubt seeking to set records straight.

Both sides welcomed back key players last game too; with the Capitals welcoming Niklas Backstrom back whilst the Bruins saw the returning Patrice Bergeron grab a goal in their losing effort against the Senators.

The biggest key to coming away from this fixture with the win will be for the Bruins to ensure they get their power-play going. While Boston sits at 28% for the season, the past week their power-play is operating at just 8.3% – that’s a significant gap to make up.

What is even more bothersome is the fact that, with the exception of Patrice Bergeron returning, likewise John Moore, not much has actually changed.

It leads you to think that maybe teams have sussed out the Bruins on the man-advantage. They’ll be hoping that isn’t the case against a Washington penalty-kill ranked among the top ten in the league.

In terms of players; the key pair that need to be kept quiet are the obvious one; Alex Ovechkin and the less obvious one; John Carlson who has broken out in a big way this season. He leads the league’s defensemen by a significant 13-point margin with his 43 points thus far this year.

With that said though, both David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand managed to add two points apiece against the Senators and continue at 1.45 and 1.48 points-per-game pace respectively. That is what the Capitals will be contending with.

In terms of injuries, the Boston Bruins finally seem to be getting over the hump in that regard, with Karson Kuhlman and Kevan Miller still not back but John Moore has now returned at least. It’ll be an intriguing decision for Bruce Cassidy with regards to giving Moore a rest and bringing back Connor Clifton or retaining the veteran in the line-up.

Given these two teams are one and two in the standings, we should be in for a classic. Neither is going to want to lose and both have some very clear offensive threats. The Bruins out-match the Caps on the power-play, so that’ll be the key to turning their recent form around and getting back to winning ways.

Courtesy of The Action Network, the Bruins are +110 on the Moneyline (best line). The Capitals comparatively are -120 at the time of writing.

56% of the bets placed thus far are leaning Boston’s way though with margins so tight, it’s fair to say those making the odds can’t pick a winner with any degree of certainty here.

Daily Faceoff projects Jaroslav Halak starting this one, with Braden Holtby his likely adversary in the opposition net.

ESPN+ has a free 7-day trial that includes live streaming for this game on all your smart devices! Besides games between the NHL league leaders, ESPN+ features a selection of live games from MLB, MLS, Serie A, FA Cup, and EFL.

If you’d like to purchase tickets to this game, StubHub has tickets in the Mezzanine End listed around the $50 mark at the time of this writing. This game will also be televised on NBCSN and TVAS.

The puck drops at 7PM Eastern Time with both these teams looking to turn their fortunes around. Weird thing to say for the number one and number two team in the league, but recent results suggest it to be the case!

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All it took was one breathtaking rush up the ice in overtime last weekend for Torey Krug to show exactly what he means to the Boston Bruins.

Clearly it was more than that with Krug posting three points, six shots on net and a plus-2 in 20:26 of ice time in the 5-4 overtime win, his first game in nearly two weeks due to an upper body injury, but the 28-year-old defenseman showed exactly what kind of impact he’s capable of with the end-to-end rush and big offensive night while balancing that with his usual top-4 defenseman duties.

“Torey was good. He had to kill a lot of penalties, which coming off a five-game layoff isn’t ideal. Zee (Chara) got whistled a few times tonight so, we’re a little bit shorthanded in that regard in terms of how they try to generate on the power play. [The Wild have] got bigger bodies up front so, Griz (Grzelyck) and Kampfer and Krug had their hands full,” said Bruce Cassidy. “I think it was seven by the end of the night. I can’t remember the last time we had to kill seven [penalties], so that’s a lot or work for them.

“It’s good that he had a little left in the tank offensively at the end of the night and he played to his strength at the end and finished well. Had a nice spurt through the middle, obviously that took a little bit of conditioning to be able to do that at the end of the game. Clearly he looked after himself while he was out.”

But a funny thing happened for the five-game stretch when Krug was out with an upper body injury. Matt Grzelcyk stepped up in the absence of Krug, played in his spot as Brandon Carlo’s defensive partner and upped his offensive game in the void left by Krug. Grzelcyk posted two goals, four points and a plus-3 rating in the five games along with eight shots on net, and averaged well over 20 minutes of ice time during that stretch.

Where does Marchand rank among NHL’s top LW?
The 25-year-old Grzelcyk might not have been everything that Krug is for the Bruins, particularly on the power play, but his performance gives the Bruins something to think about with Krug in the last year of his contract with the B’s. Krug will easily be able to demand $7 million-plus per season based on the contracts handed out to Thomas Chabot (eight years, $64 million), Roman Josi (eight years, $72.4 million) and Jared Spurgeon (seven years, $53 million) over the last couple of months, and it remains to be seen if the Bruins will be able to afford that kind of contract.

But it was noticeable that Grzelcyk shot the puck with greater frequency in Krug’s stead and stepped up his offense to the point where he’s on a pace to post career highs on offense with seven goals and 25 points.

“I think he’s a little more comfortable where he knows the plays that are there that we’re trying to run. He hasn’t had a ton of practice time [on the top PP] either, so I just think from being here, just doing it in the game, he’ll watch [Torey] Krug. He’s been on that unit a little bit before. [Against Buffalo] he was able to get in all alone, make a few, didn’t hesitate to shoot, one of them led to a goal and on one he scored himself,” said Cassidy. “He kept the puck alive, so yeah, he’s taken on a little bit more [responsibility]. As long as he doesn’t overdo it — I think that’s a group that functions as a group of five for the most part.”

Both the Bruins and Torey Krug’s camp have engaged in discussions on a contract extension since prior to the season once things got done with McAvoy and Carlo on contracts, but there’s been no indication they are anywhere close on a new deal. Part of that is about the Bruins evaluating what else they hold organizationally on the back end, and forecasting how readily they can replace everything that Krug gives them at both ends of the ice.

Bruins unveil sharp new alternate jerseys
Is it conceivable that Grzelcyk can really take a leap forward and do everything that Krug is able to do in quarterbacking a power play, absorbing top-4 minutes and doing it with consistency year-in and year-out?

That’s not going to be easy given that Krug has been one of the most productive NHL defensemen over the last three seasons, right up there with other elite D-men like Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns and John Klingberg. It’s also in question whether Grzelcyk has the same kind of dangerous shot from the point that Krug has featured since coming into the league.

What it does do is give the Bruins a backup plan should they decide they are unable to afford Krug, or even allow Bruins management at some point this season to explore dealing the offensive defenseman for whatever serious value he could yield in return. The calculus for keeping Krug comes down to whether the Bruins believe they can replace his offense with the continued development of Grzelcyk, Charlie McAvoy and Urho Vaakanainen, or whether the 10 goals and 50 points per season and explosive playmaking is something that only Krug can provide.

So far McAvoy and Vaakanainen haven’t really lived up to their end of the bargain this season when it comes to giving the Bruins confidence they can thrive in a post-Krug world, but the recent performance of Grzelcyk at least gives them something to think about.

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Patrice Bergeron will miss the next two games with an injury. Fortunately for the Boston Bruins, David Krejci is there to fill that top line role.
All NHL teams deal with injuries, so we never want to use them as an excuse. That said, we’ve finally reached the point of craziness on the injury-front with the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins seem to deal with a new injury every day. This time, it’s Patrice Bergeron who will miss another set of games. Bergeron missed time two weeks ago with a lower-body injury.

According to coach Bruce Cassidy, Bergeron won’t travel with the Bruins early on Tuesday, so he’ll miss the games against Montreal and Ottawa. To take Bergeron’s spot on the roster, the Bruins recalled Jack Studnicka from Providence.

We can’t expect Studnicka to fill in for Bergeron at this point, and the Bruins certainly don’t either. These are only his first couple NHL games, so no way he’ll be ready to play in the top six. Instead, somebody else needs to step up to the first-line center role.

Who can replace Bergeron on that top line? Enter David Krejci.

Krejci moved to the first line at Monday’s practice, and this means he’ll likely skate in this role Tuesday in Montreal and Wednesday in Ottawa.

#NHLBruins practice lines:

Marchand – Krejci – Pastrnak
DeBrusk – Coyle – Heinen
Bjork – Kuraly – Backes
Nordstrom – Lindholm – Wagner

Chara – McAvoy
Krug – Carlo
Grzelcyk – Clifton
Moore – Kampfer

Rask
Halak

— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) November 25, 2019

Krejci is the only center on the roster capable of that top line role. Studnicka, like we mentioned before, doesn’t have the experience, and Charlie Coyle lacks the offensive upside to make that line work.

Fortunately for the Bruins, Krejci will be up to the task. With him in the middle, don’t expect that top line to miss a beat.

Because of Bergeron’s presence in the lineup, people forget the level of talent Krejci brings to the table. He has incredible vision and playmaking skills, and when he’s on the ice, his linemates are always a threat to score.

Krejci had 73 points in 81 games last season without a reliable right wing. He did play the full year with Jake DeBrusk, but he’s not yet an elite scorer. Can you imagine if Krejci had high-scoring, consistent wingers?

As such, look for Krejci to light it up with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak at his wings. Pastrnak still leads the NHL in goals, while Marchand continues to prove night in and night out that he might be the best all-around wing in hockey.

Two weeks ago, when Bergeron missed a few games with injury, Krejci stepped in and certainly made that top line work. He functioned as the chief playmaker with three assists in two games. Marchand also had three assists, and Pastrnak had three goals.

Krejci then continued his pace when Bergeron returned to the lineup. In last Saturday’s win over Minnesota, Krejci scored two goals in the final two minutes to send the game to overtime.

Based on his current form, we know the top line will work with Krejci instead of Bergeron. Krejci and those two wings are simply too talented to not produce.

This is why Krejci continues to be so valuable to the Bruins. Fans often complain that he’s inconsistent, but how many teams have a second-line center who can produce like Krejci?

Because Krejci’s in the lineup, the Bruins can take things slow with Bergeron and give him time to totally rest. Then, at the end of the year, Bergeron and Krejci can give Boston that one-two punch down the middle that other teams lack.

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The Bruins announced this afternoon that they’ve placed defenseman Steven Kampfer on waivers, with the intent of assigning him to the Providence Bruins.

Because of his length of service in the league, Kampfer requires waivers to be assigned to the AHL. While it’s unlikely, there’s a chance a team looking for a body on the blueline grabs him.

Kampfer hasn’t played for the Bruins since the week of American Thanksgiving, and has only skated in 4 games all season.

Clearly he could use some ice time, and with John Moore returning and the team already using Connor Clifton as the healthy scratch, the Bruins don’t have a ton of ice time to offer at the NHL level right now.

Hopefully Kampfer sneaks through, as last year’s playoffs showed that he can fill in when called upon.

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Jake DeBrusk was a big piece to the offense for the Boston Bruins last year. He scored 27 goals in only his second year, so expectations were high in advance of year three.

Although most expected DeBrusk to flirt with the 30-goal mark, he started the season ice cold. He didn’t even record a point until his fifth game. Then, it took DeBrusk three more games to score his first goal.

A big reason for DeBrusk’s slow start was the absence of David Krejci. Without Krejci down the middle, DeBrusk and his linemates struggled to generate chances.

Then, DeBrusk picked up an injury of his own. He missed five games for the Bruins before he returned against New Jersey on November 19. That game marks a turning point for DeBrusk’s season in more ways than one.

First, the game against New Jersey obviously represented DeBrusk’s return from injury. More importantly than that, it represented a significant shift in DeBrusk’s play.

He didn’t have a point against the Devils, but DeBrusk flew up and down the ice all night. He was physically engaged, and he looked like the guy we all saw last year. Based on DeBrusk’s play, it seemed like goals would come. That’s certainly been the case.

Since his return from injury, DeBrusk has two goals and three assists in six games. All these points, in fact, came in the past four games. These are modest numbers, but this pace is definitely better than it was before the injury.

That’s five points in three games for @kurals9.#NHLBruins pic.twitter.com/mqSUXgPjXO

— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) November 29, 2019

DeBrusk was especially good in the last game against the Rangers. He assisted on two of Boston’s three goals. His first assist came off an excellent individual effort when he circled around the zone and fired an easily-tippable shot on goal.

DeBrusk really turned his season around these past two games. Surprisingly, he’s done so without Krejci as his center.

Krejci jumped up to the top line in the absence of Patrice Bergeron. That left DeBrusk with some new centers, including Charlie Coyle most recently.

DeBrusk and Coyle form a strong duo. Coyle’s bigger and more physical than Krejci, and he plays a north-south game like DeBrusk. Coyle also forces DeBrusk to play with more pace, something that definitely works out.

With new linemates, DeBrusk improved his play for the Bruins at the right time. Bergeron’s out of the lineup, so Boston needs secondary scoring now more than ever. DeBrusk, Coyle, and company provide that.

DeBrusk remains an important part of Boston’s forward group now and in the future. He’s a restricted free agent after this season, so DeBrusk needs to show Boston why he’s worth a long-term commitment. If he continues to play like he has since the injury, the Bruins will have no choice but to extend him.

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Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle came home to a better place.

A hockey product of Weymouth High School and Boston University, Coyle came to the Bruins from Minnesota in a deadline trade for Ryan Donato on Feb. 20, 2019.

Coyle will go up against his former team for the second time when the Atlantic Division-leading Bruins (14-3-5) host the Wild on Saturday night (7) at the TD Garden. The Wild are 9-11-2 and in last place in the Central Division.

“I’m happy where I’m at and this is where I want to be,” said Coyle following an intense, drill-oriented practice on Friday at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton.

“We have a great team and we have a great thing going, so yeah, I am definitely happy to be here.”

Donato was a finisher with great upside while Coyle was an established NHL veteran when Bruins general manager Don Sweeney pulled the trigger.

Coyle, who was a first-round draft pick (28th overall) by the San Jose Sharks in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, played in 479 regular-season games with the Wild and accrued 91 goals and 151 assists. Coyle was not surprised that he was traded but pleasantly surprised he was coming to Boston.

“I was always in trade rumors and stuff and, as you get older, you learn to block it out and focus,” said Coyle. “I felt like I was doing my best job of that and not thinking about it and obviously that’s when it happened.”

Coyle adjusted to playing a variety of roles on multiple lines in the final 22 games last season, when he finished with four goals and seven assists. He enjoyed a more defined role in the postseason with nine goals and seven assists in 24 games.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy prefers Coyle in the middle of the third line between left wing Anders Bjork and right wing Danton Heinen.

But Coyle played some wing on the second line when center David Krejci replaced injured Patrice Bergeron on the first line. He has four goals and seven assists in 22 games this season.

“I’ve always moved around and injuries happen in games,” said Coyle. “I try to take pride in my versatility and be that guy that can do that and we have a few different guys who are able to fill roles like that which is great for our team.”

Krug going Wild
Defenseman Torey Krug, who missed the last five games with an upper-body injury, expects to be back on the second unit with Brandon Carlo against the Wild.

Krug is the Bruins best puck-moving defenseman and serves as rainmaker on the first power play unit with Bergeron, Jake DeBrusk, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.

Krug has played in 17 games with two goals and 11 assists. Matt Grzelcyk did an exceptional job in Krug’s absence on the second unit and first power play.

“I felt good today and we’ll see how tomorrow goes,” said Krug.

Taking a break
After missing two games with a lower-body injury, Bergeron skated 18:16 minutes and notched an assist in the Bruins’ 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night. Bergeron was excused from practice for maintenance purposes but will play against the Wild.

Cassidy added that Par Lindholm suffered a cut that required 18 stitches in the first period against the Sabres and was excused from practice. He will be a game-time decision.

Brett Ritchie missed the Sabres game with an undisclosed ailment but practiced and should play. Defenseman John Moore (shoulder) is still two weeks away while Kevan Miller (knee) suffered a recent setback

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The Boston Bruins have a real dilemma on their hands when it comes to their blue-line, with Connor Clifton now requiring waivers to be shifted from the roster.
In playing his 60th game for the Boston Bruins, suddenly Connor Clifton becomes a lot harder to juggle between Providence and Boston, although that hasn’t exactly been a play of Bruins GM, Don Sweeney this year anyway.

There will however be a real asset management issue to deal with very shortly, with some juggling most definitely required if the Boston Bruins want to maintain the veteran defensive depth they have.

Should Kevan Miller and John Moore return to action soon, suddenly the Boston Bruins will have to find a way to fit Connor Clifton, Matt Grzelcyk, Steven Kampfer, Moore and Miller onto the roster. That’s five guys into two spots, as there’s next to zero chance that Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo or Torey Krug get cycled into any rotation.

My gut feeling is that the former captain of the Quinnipiac University team is retained by the Bruins at any cost. If that means that the 24 year-old Connor Clifton is retained in the line-up over the veteran presence of Kevan Miller, so be it.

Connor Clifton, in his time with the Boston Bruins, has more than proven that he belongs in the NHL. His head coach has faith in him as you can by the ice-time he receives; he tallied 16:56 against the Montreal Canadiens last night.

What’s more; he has shown growing maturity and development as a National Hockey League player. Of the penalty minutes he’s taken in his young NHL regular season career, only 6 of the 21 have come this season; a vested improvement on the 15 minutes he took in less games last year.

Having missed just two games for the Bruins all season, it’d be hugely disappointing if Connor Clifton doesn’t remain with the team. Realistically, I don’t see any way you can try to sneak him through waivers; by allowing him his 60th game, Don Sweeney has essentially told the player he’s sticking with the big club.

The far wiser decision, albeit the one that will certainly irk people who believe all veteran players deserve respect and to be treated with the utmost class would be to send Kevan Miller, John Moore or Steven Kampfer through waivers when everyone is back from injury.

For a player that was an NHL long shot just over a year or so ago, Connor Clifton has proven he is no flash in the pan. He has firmly laid claim to a spot on at least the third pairing and is very much a part of the Boston Bruins blue-line these days.

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Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara probably is pretty frustrated with his team’s performance as of late.

After dropping the mitts with Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson on Wednesday, Chara did not hesitate to stir the pot once again on Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The 42-year-old and Bolts forward Pat Maroon got in a tussle seconds after the puck was dropped at Amalie Arena.

Check it out:

Zdeno Chara and Pat Maroon drop the gloves.#BOSvsTBL pic.twitter.com/3o9x3qYgsN

— Here’s Your Replay ⬇️ (@HeresYourReplay) December 13, 2019
According to HockeyFights.com, Chara hadn’t fought in two straight games since 2008, just his third season as B’s captain.

The B’s have dropped their past four games, so Chara rightfully is irritated after Boston got out to a hot start and first in the Atlantic Division. He most likely was trying to give his team some juice early on to send a message.

Also, Maroon was a thorn in the Bruins’ side in last year’s Stanley Cup Final as a member of the St. Louis Blues, so that may have played a role in Chara’s decision to fight him.

Tim Thomas tears up while discussing hockey related brain injuries >>>>>
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