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Bruins’ Seidenberg, Chara needed to handle Canucks’ Sedin twins

Updated: July 7, 2011 3:26PM



VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Stopping the Vancouver Canucks’ Henrik and Daniel Sedin — or at least slowing their production — is an arduous task reserved for the best defenders.

So it’s no surprise that the Boston Bruins will be sending out defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg against them in the Stanley Cup finals, which start Wednesday in Vancouver.

“I love shutting down those guys — trying to, at least,” Seidenberg told reporters Monday before departing Boston. “There’s nothing better than having a big challenge.”

Henrik Sedin was the goat against the Blackhawks and Nashville Predators for his lack of production. But he stepped up against the San Jose Sharks in the conference finals with 12 points in his last five games.

Bruins coach Claude Julien’s decision to put Chara, the Norris Trophy winner as the league’s best defenseman in 2009 and a finalist this season, and Seidenberg together in the playoffs has been crucial to Boston’s success. Both are logging more than 28 minutes a game this postseason.

‘‘They’ve been a great shutdown pair,” Julien said. “They’ve been big players for us in big games, and they stepped up at the right time. So we hope that continues.”

An added boost

The already-deep Canucks have a chance to get even deeper. Center Manny Malhotra, after nearly losing his left eye when a puck hit him in a freak accident in March, has been medically cleared to play.

That doesn’t mean Malhotra, one of the best faceoff centers in the league and a quality defensive player, will play Wednesday in Game 1. Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said he’s still day-to-day.

But if the series drags out, he’s a real option. Malhotra took part in a scrimmage Monday.

“It keeps getting better every day,” Malhotra told reporters. “I felt more confident today than I did the last practice day. . . . It’s a day-to-day thing. It will be monitored daily.”

Malhotra had two eye surgeries to save his vision. The Canucks initially ruled him out of the playoffs.



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