March 11-17, 2013
After finishing 3-2 this week, the Boston Bruins improved their record to 19-5-3 on the year, but still sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference and second in the Northeast Division. Their two losses came from the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins – the first place team in the East – who came from behind in the third period in Tuesday’s victory and finished off the week with a 2-1 win yesterday over the Black and Gold.
Captain Zdeno Chara, however, has been playing great hockey as of late, and during last week’s five-game stretch, compiled two goals and two assists. Chara’s week was rather daunting as he needed to chase around Sidney Crosby (twice), who scored his 13th of the season yesterday on Chara’s watch, and Alexander Ovechkin on Saturday.
Chara knows the team must take care of business every night because points are at a premium with the shortened season and it doesn’t matter who you play.
“There’s no easy game, especially at this time and in this league,” said the 6-foot-9 defenseman. “Whoever you’re going to face, it doesn’t matter what the standings are looking like, but you want to make sure you approach every opponent with respect, but anything can happen so we’ve just got to play our best every night.”
Chara logged some serious ice time (as usual) during the Bruins’ brutal stretch in March. He played at least 22 minutes in nine of his last ten games, including all five games this week.
What Chara does on a nightly basis cannot go overlooked. Just because he does not find his name in the box score does not mean he is not contributing. He sports a plus-14 rating, which surprisingly ranks him only 16th in the league and fourth on the team. Teammate Patrice Bergeron holds the team lead with a plus-21 rating, good for second in the NHL.
Chara has six goals and seven assists on the year (13 points), but his presence is irreplaceable on this roster. Fans saw what happened against Montreal when Chara, despite getting an instigator, did the right thing in sticking up for teammate Tyler Seguin. With “Big Z” out for 17 minutes, the Canadiens took advantage and scored two goals in the third period to take the 4-3 victory.
Chara played in his 500th game earlier last week against his former team, the Ottawa Senators. He has been nothing short of spectacular every time he dons the ‘Spoked B’, and its no secret why he’s a perennial Norris Trophy candidate.
Bruins fans can take Chara’s play for granted, but no one will never see another defenseman in this day in age that is this consistent on a nightly basis.
Below are Chara’s two goals from this week courtesy of NHL Video Center.