Canadiens meet Bruins for 1st time since Chara hit

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By HOWARD ULMAN
The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 23, 2011; 7:55 PM

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Zdeno Chara sat calmly at his locker, concerned more about beating the Montreal Canadiens in the tight division race than getting beat up by them.

Thursday night's rematch comes 16 days after Max Pacioretty suffered a severe concussion and a fractured vertebra after a hard check by the Boston Bruins captain knocked him into a padded stanchion supporting a glass partition between the teams' benches.

Might the Canadiens seek retribution on the ice?

"I don't know," Chara said after practice Wednesday. "We'll see."

Montreal's Ryan White thinks his team has more important business to handle. Boston leads the Northeast Division with 90 points with 10 games left. Montreal is second with 87 and eight games remaining. There's a decent chance they'll meet in the first round of the playoffs.

"We need two points," White said. "We're not going to go in there and try and do anything stupid and get him back or anything like that. If you ask (Pacioretty), I think the biggest thing right now is for us to win. We've given ourselves an opportunity to catch these guys."

Chara is focusing on stopping a team that is 4-1 against Boston this season.

"We all know it's a big game for both teams," he said.

The game in which Pacioretty was hurt, won by Montreal 4-1, cranked up the historic rivalry between the teams.

Montreal police began an investigation of the hit. Canadiens owner Geoff Molson said his club didn't agree with the NHL's decision not to suspend Chara. Two days after the check, Pacioretty was released from a hospital, his agent said.

He'll be able to resume training with contact by early or mid-April, according to coach Jacques Martin. And there's a chance he'll be back during the playoffs after early fears that the injury might be more serious.

"I'm glad that he's doing much better," Chara said. "It's kind of surprising good news."


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