Zdeno Chara injury update: Bruins captain's Game 5 status unclear after puck to the mouth

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, forced to leave Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday in St. Louis after being struck in the face with a puck, will be re-evaluated in Boston and his status for Game 5 is unknown.

Chara, 42, left the game at the 3:07 mark of the second period with blood dripping from his mouth. 

“I don’t know his status for Game 5,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said after a 4-2 loss that evened the series at 2-2. “Obviously when he gets back home he’ll have to be re-evaluated, see how he feels (Tuesday) for starters. If we have something for you (to update) we’ll give it to you. So I can’t say whether he’ll play in Game 5 or not. No idea.”

Cassidy said Chara “had some stitches, probably [will have] some dental work in the near future.”

With Chara out, Boston relied on its remaining five defensemen. Charlie McAvoy led the Bruins with 25:51 of ice time and Torey Krug was second at 24:11, per NHL.com.

If Chara can’t go Thursday in Boston, then he would be the second defenseman the Bruins have lost in the Final. Matt Grzelcyk is in the NHL’s concussion protocol after a boarding penalty by the Blues’ Oskar Sundqvist, who was suspended for Game 3 over the high hit in Game 2.

Steven Kampfer, Jeremy Lauzon, Urho Vaakanainen and Jakub Zboril are among the Bruins’ options if Chara can’t play.

The Blues claimed the relatively penalty-free heavy game they played to knot the series took its toll on a thin Bruins back end. 

“I think we are wearing them down when they don’t have six [defensemen],” Sundqvist said. “Obviously, you don’t want to see a guy take puck in the mouth. It’s kind of like when you saw [Blues defenseman Vince Dunn] do it. But five D against our forecheck, I don’t think it’s that easy.” 

Chara was injured when Blues center Brayden Schenn’s shot hit Chara’s stick and deflected into his face. Chara fell to the ice and when he lifted his head there was blood visible. Cameras caught him with a bloodied mouth as he skated off the ice.

The defenseman returned to the bench in the third period with a full clear mask but did not get back into the game.

“That’s the type of guy he is, come out and be there to support,” Bruins center Charlie Coyle said. “You never want to see that happen to anyone, especially someone on your team, someone who is such a big part of our team playing-wise, leadership-wise. It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s how you respond to adversity and you see a lot of it during this time of year.”

The Blues were leading 2-1 when Chara went out, but the Bruins quickly scored in his absence to tie the score heading into the final period.

St. Louis scored two unanswered goals in the third to seal the first Stanley Cup Final victory on home ice in Blues history — and turn the series into a best-of-three affair.

Game 5 is set for 8 p.m. ET Thursday in Boston.