MONTREAL — The Bruins are facing a tall task in getting back in their opening-round series with the Canadiens, but they could be getting some help with the return of their tallest player.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara participated in the morning skate Monday at the Bell Centre, two days after missing Game 2 in Boston. Chara had been hospitalized for dehydration on Friday night and was not allowed to play by the medical staff after taking the pre-game warm-ups.
There's still no guarantee that Chara will be cleared to play Monday, but his presence on the ice for the morning skate is certainly a positive sign and Bruins coach Claude Julien is optimistic of having his top defenseman back in the lineup.
"Absolutely, I think he's been [getting] better," Julien said. "You saw him on the ice this morning and as we speak right now it's looking good, but I can't stand here right now and say he's a definite in."
Chara's return would be a huge boost to the Bruins, who could definitely use all the help they can get after falling behind 2-0 in the series with a pair of losses on home ice.
"It was obviously nice to see him out there," defenseman Adam McQuaid said. "He's a big part of our team, so it's just nice to have him back around. Regardless of whether he's 100 percent or whatever's going on, he's a leader on our team and a big part of our team."
Any questions about the importance of having Chara on the blue line were erased on Saturday when the Bruins defense struggled mightily without their leader. Boston's back end was often in disarray and several costly miscues led directly to Montreal goals.
If he is anywhere close to full strength, Chara should have a stabilizing influence on that unit. His return to the morning skate already had a calming effect on the club.
"He was at the other end of the ice the whole time, so I didn't see too much of him," forward Shawn Thornton joked. "But I was told he looks good and hopefully he's ready to go. He's a huge part of our team, one the biggest parts of our team, so we'll be glad to have him back."