Bruins goalie Tim Thomas learned to appreciate everything Zdeno Chara provides when he had to compete against Montreal without the towering defenseman last night.

The Bruins captain was scratched from the lineup after suffering a bout of dehydration on Friday night, creating a 25-minute vacuum in coach Claude Julien's game plan. A couple of defensive lapses led to long rebounds that landed on unfriendly sticks. That poisonous combination resulted in a 3-1 loss in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at TD Garden, with the Habs taking a 2-0 lead home to Montreal.

"Well, he's a 6-foot-9 guy with an 8-foot reach that can skate very well and hits incredibly hard," said Thomas. "On top of that, he has one of the harder shots in the league.

"We know that and it was our job to step up for him tonight, and we couldn't do it. You always miss a guy like Zdeno, but having said that, the plan was to have everybody step up their game and make up for that by committee. It didn't turn out that way."

Thomas and the B's defensive unit consumed equal share of the blame pie for this latest playoff defeat.