BOSTON (CBS) – Tuesday night was a special night for Boston Bruins’ captain Zdeno Chara.
Prior to the Bruins 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, Chara was honored for playing in his 1,000th career NHL game last Saturday in Los Angeles. With his wife and daughter by his side, a video montage played, honoring the B’s captain for becoming just the 277th player and 91st defenseman to reach the milestone.
“It’s obviously very nice to get that recognition and ceremony. Like I said, I very much appreciate it. It’s very nice from the NHL, the Boston Bruins organization, from my teammates and everybody that supported me,” Chara said after the game.
Listen To Chara Postgame:
Of course when it was all done, Chara still had to go out and play against the Lightning, a team that embarrassed Boston 6-1 three weeks ago.
And play he did. Chara made a huge impact in the victory, chiming in with a trio of assists which included the game-winner by Benoit Pouliot with 8:26 left in regulation. The B’s captain now has six points in his last five games, four in his last two alone.
But all that was important to Chara was the W in the standings.
“That’s more important than my three assists. We just want to play really well going into the playoffs and at least out there you have to get your game established and play the right way and for the most part, I thought we did,” said Chara. “But, still there’s areas that can be better and we can improve and just have to be ready for the next one. It was a tough game to play, they’re always dangerous, they always create good scoring chances and obviously they have some guys that are extremely well at finding the net. But the important thing is we won the game.”
“You can take away his three assists and still look at his game and say he was solid,” head coach Claude Julien said of Chara. “Everything he did was simple, efficient, and he was rock solid tonight. I really liked his game, and to cap it off with a three-point night was nice to see. He made a lot of smart plays — really, really good. Obviously this was a special night for him, and he wanted to make sure that everything he did was good and positive, and [he] was a real solid contributor for us.”
While his name was prominent in the stat sheet on Tuesday night, that is not always the case for Chara. But even when he doesn’t notch multiple assists or a goal, his teammates know what kind of impact he makes.
“It’s really big. We really count on him, he plays 25 or 30 minutes a night and he’s a leader off the ice. We definitely wouldn’t have won if it wasn’t for him last year,” said forward Brad Marchand, who tallied his 26th goal of the season against Tampa. “Having a guy like him on your team makes it a lot easier going into the playoffs, and you know he showed tonight why he’s such a big asset to our team with three assists and getting that first goal going. He just plays all areas of the rink.”
“He’s a tremendous leader. Obviously he does that by example, but he’s the toughest guy to play against in the league – far and none,” said forward Brian Rolston, a 16-year NHL veteran. “If you were to pull the forwards on every team they would say the same thing and coming in on a nightly basis knowing that you have to face him – it’s a tough task.”
And while his coach may know a way or two how to contain his monstrous defenseman, he isn’t saying.
“You don’t expect me to sit up here and tell you how to beat Chara, do you? It’s not going to happen,” Julien joked.
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