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“The file is still under investigation,” he said.

After the hit, Chara was criticized by Montreal fans and media.

“It’s tough to really address that. I don’t know if I should even try,” he said. “It was a really bad accident. … I can’t control what they talk about me or what the say about me. I just try to focus on my game.”

Fellow Boston defenseman Andrew Ference doesn’t think the criticism affected Chara much.

“I don’t think he’s a guy whose attitude is based on external opinions,” Ference said. “You don’t want to go through something like that, but I think he puts a lot more stock in his friends’ and family’s opinions than he does of people on the outside giving their two cents.”

The game against Montreal was the second in a seven-game slump in which Boston went 1-3-3. That followed a seven-game winning streak. The Bruins played aggressively in their last game, a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night in which Chara scored the goal that broke a 1-1 tie and added two assists.

“I liked his game” on Tuesday, coach Claude Julien said when asked about Chara’s attitude since the hit on Pacioretty. “He’s handled himself as good as he can and he’s fine.”

Montreal lost to the Buffalo Sabres 2-0 on Tuesday night and is 2-4 since its last game with Boston.

The Canadiens‘ previous meeting with the Bruins added to the intense rivalry. There were 182 penalty minutes in Boston’s 8-6 win at home on Feb. 9.

“When you have a real rivalry, you’ll get incidents like that that have happened this year,” Martin said, “but both teams realize the importance of the standings and the importance of home ice for the playoffs.”

The Bruins are a bigger, more physical team and won’t be looking over their shoulders for any Canadiens trying to get back at them for Chara’s hit, said Milan Lucic, who has 30 goals _ and 106 penalty minutes _ for Boston.

“Z can take care of himself,” Lucic said, “so if they want to go after him, good luck.”

Chara, though, plans to keep his emotions focused on playing hockey.

“It’s part of the game to be emotional and play with a lot of energy and jump,” he said, “but you just have to keep the emotions bottled up and not (let) the emotions take over the game.”

And White said, the Canadiens have to “stick together … and if something happens, something happens.”