Defenseman Zdeno Chara will resume his duties on the Bruins first defensive unit with Charlie McAvoy when they engage the New York Islanders on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Chara was scratched from the Bruins’ 5-4 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night at the TD Garden to allow his surgically reattached jaw time to heal from its latest setback.
“I feel ready to go and I want to play and I’m excited for tomorrow,” said Chara following Friday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton.
“Of course, I wanted to play (Thursday) but sometimes you have to listen to your body and the doctors. I think the decision was made for the right reasons. Today is a new day and I’m getting ready for tomorrow’s game.”
Chara had an abscess removed from his jaw area earlier in the week but he still participated in the Bruins’ 6-2 win at Nashville on Jan. 7. Chara took a looping right-hand punch to the jaw in a ruckus with Predators forward Vakov Trenin, but that was not the source of his pain.
Chara suffered the initial injury in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final against the St. Louis Blues on June 6. Chara experienced multiple fractures to the jaw when he took a puck off the stick of Blues’ center Brayden Schenn.
Chara had surgery on Dec. 23 to remove plates and screws from his jaw and was scratched from the Bruins’ 7-3 win over the Capitals.
“We talked to him about the danger of playing through what he’s going through and he wants to play every game,” said Cassidy. “But that was a decision made higher up that he should take the game off.”
David Pastrnak upped his league lead in power-play goals to 16 with a quick strike from the top of the left circle at 9:41 of the second period against the Jets.
The Bruins were one for four on the power play against the Jets and are now 40 of 146 for a 27.4% success rate.
Winnipeg forward Blake Wheeler was five seconds into his two-minute stretch for tripping when defenseman Torey Krug got the puck to Pastrnak on a designed play. Pastrnak’s preferred sweet spot is the left dot, but he has learned to expand his area. “Sometimes he gets pushed out there because of how teams defend,” said Cassidy. “He’s just been able to make that adjustment, find the ice and good players do that.
“That’s not something where we said “hey Pasta, you got to be six feet over.” You have to find space and teams will front that space (left dot) quicker with the D and sometimes they back off.”
BRUINS 5, JETS 4
Winnipeg 1 2 1 — 4
Boston 1 2 2 — 5
First Period—1, Winnipeg, Connor 22 (Ehlers, Scheifele) 7:35. 2, Boston, Pastrnak 33 (Nordstrom, Kuraly) 17:14.
Second Period—3, Winnipeg, Copp 7 (Morrissey, Ehlers) 6:00 (pp). 4, Boston, Pastrnak 34 (Krug, Marchand) 9:41 (pp). 5, Boston, DeBrusk 12 (unassisted) 18:49. 6, Winnipeg, Pionk 4 (Wheeler, Laine) 19:52 (pp). Penalties—Sbisa, WIN (Tripping), 0:29; bench, BOS (Too many men on ice), 4:23; Wheeler, WIN (Tripping), 9:36; Grzelcyk, BOS (Interference), 19:17.
Third Period—7, Winnipeg, Scheifele 22 (Connor, Kulikov) 7:50. 8, Boston, Pastrnak 35 (Krejci, DeBrusk) 11:13. 9, Boston, DeBrusk 13 (McAvoy, Grzelcyk) 11:46. Penalties—Morrissey, WIN (Tripping), 3:09; Ehlers, WIN (Hooking), 12:12.
Shots on Goal—Winnipeg 6-8-7—21. Boston 12-12-12—36.
Power-play opportunities—Winnipeg 2 of 2. Boston 1 of 4.
Goalies—Winnipeg Brossoit 4-5-0 (36 shots-31 saves). Boston Halak 10-4-5 (21-17).
A—17,850 (17,565). T—2:31. Referees—Kendrick Nicholson, Justin St. Pierre. Linesmen—Michel Cormier, Bevan Mills.