BOSTON — Since Zdeno Chara came to the Hub in 2006, he’s been logging monster minutes on the Bruins blueline and almost always against the opposition’s top-lines, night-in and night-out.
Tonight will be no different.
The Bruins host the Anaheim Ducks and their top trio of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Bobby Ryan at 7:40 p.m. inside the TD Garden. And you better believe that Chara is well prepared for those players, and others, tonight.
“We have to be ready to battle because obviously they’re a very good team,” Chara said this morning after the team’s morning skate at the TD Garden. “Especially that line, it’s extremely big for them.”
Perry, 6-foot3, 212-pounds; Getzlaf, 6-foot-4, 221-pounds; and Perry, 6-foot-3, 212-pounds, make up a beast of a first line that causes problems from most teams they face. The power forwards have accounted for 43 of the team’s 91 goals this season, and have combined for 100 points while skating in all 36 games this NHL season.
“They have everything you can ask for from any kind of line — speed, skill, size,” he said of the three. “For sure it’s a dominant, offensive line for them.”
When you throw in a future Hall of Famer in the mix as one of the forwards on their top line, the dynamic lineup gets even deeper.
Teemu Selanne, 10-18-28 scoring totals this season, has also been skating and practicing on the top line alongside Perry and Getzlaf. But either way — with Getzlaf in the middle or Saku Koivu — the B’s are preparing for a big, strong, fast team, regardless of the potential line combinations.
“They get a lot of ice time and they play them quite a bit,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said of Anaheim, but more specifically to Selanne, Koivu, Perry, Getzlaf, and Ryan. “They’re a big, strong team. I think they’re built a lot, in certain ways, even to Philadelphia and what they’re trying to do there — probably more size and strength. They play a heavy game, that’s what you can expect from those guys.”
Like all teams that play outside their Conference, the Bruins are prepared as if they were playing any other team in the East. But since they play each other just once every NHL season, Chara pays extra close attention to detail.
“I think as far as the preparation I think do the same as every other game,” Chara said. “We realize that some teams we play more often and some teams we play only once a year. We have to be aware of every little detail because you’re not familiar with things they like to do.”
Playing a full 60-minutes is something that has been harped on with the Black and Gold all season long, but haven’t put to practice so much. With a team like the Ducks in town, taking a period off against a team of this caliber is not an option, as the outcome will most certainly be another notch in the “L” column.
“It’s so important. You want to start strong and you want to continue to play hard throughout the whole game and finish it strong,” Chara said. “It’s something you can’t say enough or put more importancy on. Anytime you put together a full 60 minutes, you have a really good chance to win a hockey game. If you miss any of those 60 and have a bad period, you’re already putting yourself in a bad spot.”
“They’re obviously coming in here hungry,” said Julien. “And hopefully our desperation is good, if not better.”