Prior to last night’s contest against the Tampa Bay Lightning the Bruins honored Captain Zdeno Chara with a pregame ceremony celebrating his 1000th game played. Chara reached this milestone Saturday evening in the Bruins 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings in LA.
Chara signed with the Bruins prior to the 2006-07 season after leaving the Ottawa Senators. Chara started his career in Long Island playing four seasons for the Islanders before being dealt to the Sens.
Chara has been nothing shy of a leader on and off the ice for the Bruins organization and his Bruins teammates.
“Yeah, 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” said second year forward Brad Marchand who scored his 26th goal in last night’s 5-2 win over the Lightning. “We definitely wouldn’t have won if it wasn’t for him last year. 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.”
Once the ceremony was over Chara got back to work on the ice and was a key factor in the Bruins win.
With the Bruins down 1-0 late in the first, Chara did a great job keeping the puck in the zone at the blue line, used his offensive skills to skate the puck down to the net which led to Shawn Thornton’s fifth goal of the year which tied things up at one.
“Well, basically I get a puck on the blueline, I was trying to ride the blueline and then just kind of opened up and I really decided to challenge that seam and once I got a little bit more room, I was kind of deciding between a shot and pass” said Chara. “But again, everything was happening and I decided to take it to the net and we’ve always been taught when you do those things, good things happen and they did. We scored on the rebound, and it ended up being a good play.”
Chara would go on to add two more helpers on the Bruins next two goals including Beniot Pouliot’s game winner late in the third period. It was Chara’s first three-assist game since March 24, 2011, a 7-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
As expected the Captain was very appreciative of the honor, and even happier his club was able to secure the two points.
“Well, 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.” Said Chara “Well I think that’s the most important thing, 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. But the important thing is we won the game.”
The Bruins now have a five-point lead over the Ottawa Senators in the Northeast division, and a four-point lead over the Florida Panthers in the race for the Eastern Conference’s second seed.
In case you missed the video played at the Garden for Chara last night, here it is: