Zdeno Chara has had many run-ins in the past with Devils right wing Brian Gionta, but during this afternoon's game it was Zach Parise that ended up taking physical punishment from the 6-foot-9, 255-pound Bruins defenseman.
During one exchange in the right corner of the Bruins' zone during a Devils' power play early in the second period, Chara knocked Parise's helmet off with a shove.
"He crosschecked me a couple of times and took my helmet off," Parise said. "We saw a lot of each other tonight, so it got a little heated."
As the Devils' leading scorer, Parise expects that kind of physical treatment now.
"Going into the game, we knew we were going to be seeing a lot of him, our line was," Parise said. "A few times, we were able to get in there, but I think we've got to do a better job against him. We have played well against him before in the last couple of games, but tonight we couldn't get much going."
Devils coach Brent Sutter said it's up to Parise to fight through that sort of thing and not his teammates to protect him.
"Every time someone gets touched, it's a big deal because someone gets touched," Sutter said. "Your best players have to play through some things too. This time of the season and come playoffs, you're going to have to take punches to the head for the benefit of the team. Did he intimidate us? He certainly didn't intimidate us out there. He's a competitor and Zach has to learn to play through stuff too. That's part of being a good player. You've got to play through some things maybe you don't like. You have to fight through it. I'm not saying he doesn't. I'm just saying that every time someone gets hit in a game doesn't mean you have to respond or a positive or negative way either. We know how to handle that. It's not like we don't know how to handle these things."
The Devils appeared more intent on taking the game to Chara physically in the third period. Bobby Holik had a couple of exhanges with him and drew a roughing penalty.
"That's hockey," Holik said. "I enjoy it. I think we have to play against him and all of their defensemen more like that, especially at the start of the game. Make it a little harder on them. From their point of view, I think it was a very easy game against us tonight. I wish I had more of an opportunity to play against him because I believe I could make it somewhat harder for him. It's a game. It's part of the game. I just take the opporunity I get."
Devils right wing David Clarkson also exhanged shoves with Chara in the final seconds and both players picked up unsporstmanlike conduct minors.
"We were losing and I wasn't happy," Clarkson said. "Nothing really happened. He was hitting guys. I hit him back a few times and he plays hard. I was just trying to get some hits on him when I could. I guess at the end he didn't 'like that I kept hitting him. So, we kind of tied up and that was it."
Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur said he didn't think that Chuck Kobasew's wraparound goal, which made it 2-0 1:52 into the second period, went off teammate Bryce Salvador at all.
"He went on his backhand and usually when a guy comes on a wraparound it's a pretty tough play to make to wrap it around," Brodeur said. "I thought he was going to pass it across, so I kind of pressed on my knob and my stick got up a little bit. It sneaked right under my stick, I think. I didn't see the replay, but that's the way it felt."
Defenseman Andy Greene scored the Devils' only goal today on a deflection of a pass from Jamie Langenbrunner with 7:16 left in the second period. It was Greene's second goal of the season and first since Oct. 18 -- a span of 41 games for him.
"It had been a real long time," Greene said. "I was just trying to go to the net and be the middle guy going to the net and (Langenbrunner) made a great play to get it there and I just tried to deflect it and sneak it in somehow."