The Boston Bruins are finding a second wind under Bruce Cassidy. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara has found one as well, and the long-time Bruins captain is playing like he was ten years younger.
The Boston Bruins have found new life since Bruce Cassidy took over as head coach last week. Most of the team are playing with passion and exuberance. That goes double for Boston’s captain, Zdeno Chara.
Chara has been a big help during the transition. With his leadership (along with Patrice Bergeron, and David Krejci), the Bruins are playing like a playoff-worthy team. The B’s are doing well under this new offensive-minded mentality. The B’s have put in 14 goals in the last three games. Their approach to success has been very simple.
Chara has been heating up as well. At the start of the season, the 39-year old captain looked like he was ready for retirement. Now, the veteran blueliner seems to be playing with the grace and skill of his former self. Chara’s hands have certainly heated up in the last few weeks. In the last five games, the big defenceman has put in five points (two goals) for Boston.
“We took one game at a time,” offered Chara on the team’s recent hot streak. “Big games, every one of them. We knew that we needed to be better. I think we were doing the right things in every game and trying to build on those.”
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“There were still mistakes, but we recovered and found a way to score goals, found a way to defend, when we needed big saves, we got big saves. These are big points for us going into the bye week.
“We can only control how we play and I think we did that. So, now, it’s time to take some rest and be ready when we get back.”
Those mistakes could have cost the Bruins dearly in their game against Montreal. Two quick penalties found the B’s having to fight off a 5-on-3 for over 90 seconds. Chara ended up playing 7:37 of the game while on the penalty kill. Thanks to Chara’s presence and leadership on the ice, the Bruins were able to kill off all six penalties as the Bruins cruised to a 4-0 win on Sunday night at the TD Garden.
Now, the Bruins are in their bye week. They’ll have to hope they’ve put in enough points to still have a playoff position when they get back to the ice next week. When they hit the ice again, Chara and the Bruins have just one thing on their mind for the next few weeks of the regular season.
“Our thinking is to try to win every game,” said Chara about the team’s goals heading into the last few weeks of the season. ” We know the standings. We know it’s pretty tight. We put ourselves in some of the games in tough situations. Now, we’ve got to climb up and fight for every point. It’s going to be very important that we do that and play that way until the end.”
“We can look at the standings as much as we want. But, I think that we really have to focus on how we play, how we want to go into every game, and what we can do to get as many points as possible.”
Chara was a major player in the Bruins most recent win over the Habs. He put in the B’s second goal of the night, a short-handed tally against Carey Price. He ended up being the only B’s player that spent more than 20 minutes on the ice (26:36). Over eight and a half of those minutes were spent on special teams.
His total body of work for that game was impressive. Chara finished with a goal, and a +2 rating. He had three hits, two shots on goal, two blocks, and a takeaway.
Bruce Cassidy has certainly been pleased with the recent progress of the Bruins. They’re 3-0 under his leadership. He’s certainly been pleased with how the captain has handled the transition, and how he helped the team move ahead.
“He was ready to go,” said Cassidy of Chara after the game. “Listen, when your leaders are leading, playing like that, the other guys get pulled along. It’s great to see.”
The Bruins have been playing with heart this last week. If they can maintain this kind of momentum, they’ll surely make the playoffs in April.