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NHL Buzz: Chara misses first game for Capitals

Welcome to the NHL Buzz. Throughout the 2020-21 season, will have you covered with the latest news.


Washington Capitals

Zdeno Chara is not playing against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Sunday. 

The defenseman blocked two shots off his right ankle while on the penalty kill late in the second period of the Capitals’ 6-3 win at the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday but was able to finish the game.

“We took some rubber on the back end last night, different players and three or four blocks, in the defensive zone,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said Sunday. 

When asked if Chara was one of the players hurting, Laviolette said, “It would seem like it after the whistler that he took.”

It’s the first game Chara has missed this season. The 44-year-old has scored nine points (two goals, seven assists), has a plus-8 rating and averaged 18:24 in ice time in 45 games this season.

Trevor van Riemdsyk replaced Chara in the Capitals’ lineup. Van Riemsdyk had not dressed for a game since he played 51 seconds as the seventh defenseman against the New York Islanders on March 16. He has scored one goal in nine games this season. 

Washington (29-12-4) is first in the eight-team MassMutual East Division, three points ahead of the second-place Pittsburgh Penguins. — Tom Gulitti


Boston Bruins

Jaroslav Halak could rejoin the Bruins on Monday after spending two weeks in NHL COVID-19 protocol.

The goalie tested positive for the virus April 5.

“He’s skating, he just has to do it on his own,” coach Bruce Cassidy said Sunday. “Hasn’t been integrated with the group yet. I believe his date is tomorrow, if I’m not mistaken, when he can get back with us. So he’s doing well. … He’s feeling good, working on his game, getting back into the mix.”

Halak, who last played on April 3, is 9-5-3 with a 2.44 goals-against average, .910 save percentage and two shutouts in 17 games (16 starts) this season. 

“Until he gets some reps with us, we don’t know when he’ll get back into the nets, but just glad to see him around the rink,” Cassidy said. 

Cassidy said Matt Grzelcyk, who has not played since April 10 because of an upper-body injury, is skating and “getting closer” to returning. The defenseman is expected to travel with the Bruins when they begin a five-game road trip Tuesday at the Buffalo Sabres.

Boston (24-12-6) is fourth in the eight-team MassMutual East Division, four points head of the New York Rangers. The top four teams qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. — Amalie Benjamin

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