Weather it’s a 108.8 mile per hour slap shot from the point, a laser from the slot, or a simple tap in from just outside the crease, Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara has been having nothing but success on the power play this season.
Behind Chara’s 5th and 6th power play tallies of the season, Chara and the Bruins blanked the Calgary Flames 2-0 Tuesday night in front of a sold out TD Garden crowd. The win was the Bruins 7th in 10 games and sixth win in a row at home.
With the two goals Chara is now tied for first in the league with Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson in defenseman goals with 9. Chara is also tied for first in defenseman power play goals with 6. Predators Captain Shea Weber shares that honor with Chara.
With 6 goals in 34 games, Chara is on pace to break his career high in power play goals which he set in 2008-09 with 11. The 19 goals in total Chara scored that season was also a career high.
With Chara now seeing a ton of time down low on the Bruins power play, it should come to no surprise that the 6′ 9″ forward is having a ton of success with the man-advantage.
“Well I think you saw tonight – you said he was huge man – but he’s also got a huge reach” said head coach Claude Julien.
“He finds those pucks. But he’s also been pretty good at reading off the guys who have the puck and sometimes it’s not about being a screen, sometimes it’s about being an outlet. So he’s reading off guys pretty well. So it’s been an adjustment for him going from the back end to the front end but he seems to be getting more and more comfortable.”
Not only has the change in power play positioning helped Chara, it’s helped out the Bruins power play as a whole, a group that we know has struggled the past few seasons. The Bruins have the 10th best power play percentage at 19.6%.
Chara certainly had to work for his goals Tuesday night as he took a high stick to the face prior to his first goal, and blocked a Jarome Iginla shot that was a bit painful before netting his second goal.
Even for a guy as tough as Chara is, sticks to the face hurt the same way it hurts everybody else.
“Yeah, yeah it was right in my eye. So it kind of stung me there for a little bit.”
To go along with his big night on the man-advantage, Chara was huge on the penalty kill seeing 3:25 of shorthanded time on ice, the most among Bruins penalty killers. The Bruins killed off all three of the Flames power play tries.
You can say that Chara hasn’t been as sharp on the blue-line as he has been in year’s past, but Chara is still without a doubt one of the top defensemen in the league, and a top Captain to go along with that as well.
As a guy who know’s a thing or two about being a Captain, Jarome Iginla knows how important Chara is to the Bruins and their success.
“I think he’s such a consistent competitor. Every game he’s on. It definitely is contagious and we all see it and all want to follow him. He’s focused every game. Every game, every shift he’s ready and ready to go and plays as hard as he can” said Iginla who spent nine seasons as Captain of the Flames.
“That’s something that we all, like I said, try to follow.”
With a Stanley Cup under his belt, and one heck of an NHL career to go along with it, Chara may not be a bad guy to follow.
Hear what Iginla and others had to say about the Bruins shutout of the Flames: