BOSTON -- Having found how tough it is to win without Zdeno Chara in the lineup, Boston desperately hopes its captain and No. 1 defenseman will be back for Game 3 on Monday.
Chara missed Saturday's 3-1 loss to Montreal in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series because of dehydration issues first encountered Friday night and requiring an overnight visit to the hospital. Chara took the pre-game warmup Saturday night at TD Garden, but was a last-minute scratch when doctor's determined he was unfit for duty.
"He deserves so much credit for what he did tonight, coming to the rink and going out there for a warmup," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "He came off the ice and he was sweaty, he was dizzy, and there was no way in the world that we could have used him tonight -- absolutely no way.
"The doctors told us the same thing. I spoke to him and even attempting to come was courageous on his part; but there was absolutely no way that he could have played tonight. It's unfortunate, we missed him. Certainly he did the best he could to even try. To be honest with you, it wasn't even close."
Without Chara, Boston was defensively suspect -- especially in the game's opening minutes. Montreal scored twice in the first 2:20 and never looked back. In addition, Boston's power play was ineffective without the threat of Chara bombing away from the point.
"Obviously he's our best defenseman and he's our leader and he's a leader in the dressing room and a leader on the ice," forward Mark Recchi said. "But at the same time, there is no excuse for it. We're all pros here and we have great defensemen and we didn't get the job done tonight. And that's the bottom line. And I believe we will Monday and we'll regroup and we'll get on the road and see what we can do. If you don't believe in each other we wouldn't have done what we did all year. We're going to stick together and we're going to get ready."
Will Chara be with the team on the ice Monday for what is, essentially, a make-or-break game for the Bruins. That is the question at the forefront of everyone's mind – and for now, there is no clear-cut answer.
"We've got to see what's going to happen here in the next couple of days," Julien said. "We're feeling confident that he will be, but, if I'm gauging by today, I can't make that assessment because we'll see how these next two days go."
The Bruins have opted not to practice Sunday, so Chara will have another day of recovery before having to determine if he is ready to get back on the ice.
Recchi and the rest of the Bruins have their fingers crossed that he'll be ready.
"I think we'll get him back Monday and they'll pump him full of fluids and get rid of the little bug he had and get it out of his system and get him ready for Monday," Recchi said. "Obviously, that is very important for us."