Zdeno Chara Leads Boston Bruins to Victory

By Michael LeDuc
Zdeno Chara
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

After being utterly embarrassed in a 6-1 loss against the Detroit Red Wings, the Boston Bruins were in desperate need for a win against rival New York Rangers. It was the first time the two teams faced each other in Boston since the Bruins eliminated New York in last year’s playoffs.

The Bruins were able to come back and win 3-2 behind Captain Zdeno Chara. It had the makings of the perfect rivalry game. The rivalry of two original six teams made for a contest of scraps and trash talking. Tempers flared and there was a definite playoff atmosphere. The Bruins improve to 17-7-2 and add a little breathing room as the top dogs in the Eastern Conference. The play of Chara inspired a Boston Bruins’ victory.

To begin the game, the Bruins came out how they were supposed to — extremely aggressive. Both teams were able to establish the puck early and execute offensively. Right away, Boston had various shots on net and were very persistent. Persistence paid off as Chara assisted Brad Marchand scored with about nine minutes left. It’s been a tough stretch for his line, so it was a promising sign for Marchand. Chara’s poise with the puck sparked offesive production.

However, the defense quickly faltered. The Rangers were fully prepared for the Bruins to get on a hot start and were able to counter it with two quick goals just three minutes later. Rick Nash, who has been on fire the last six games, was given too much room and too much time in front of the net by the Bruins’ defense. Nash, being the scorer he is, was able to capitalize on the Bruin’s mistakes and drive one past Tukka Rask. Less than two minutes later, the Bruins’ defense collapsed down low and allowed Ryan McDonagh to put the Rangers on top, 2-1. This seemed to suck the life out of the Bruins. They drew too many penalties and since the Marchand goal, only had three shots on goal until midway through the second period.

The first period was exciting, fast-paced hockey, but both teams had trouble settling the puck in the second. It was an extremely lethargic and sloppy period for both offenses. The Bruins finally had a handful of scoring bids against Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist in the last 10 minutes of the period. Overall, there was no communication and the game looked like pond hockey. Finally, the Bruins gained some life by the end of the period after Chara got into a little scrap with Brian Boyle. The fight gave the crowd some energy that would last into the third period. Brian Boyle had no chance against Chara. He did not back down and his fight energized the Bruins and enabled a momentum shift in Boston’s favor.

Chara’s fight proved to be a game changer when Patrice Bergeron scored his seventh goal of the season just a minute and half into the third. The defense fed of the momentum and remained solid throughout the period behind Chara and Milan Lucic‘s physical play down the stretch. With less than 10 minutes to go, Chara unloaded a shot that beat Lundqvist between the pads. The Bruins were now up 3-2 and Chara pumped his fists in the air as the crowd cheered loudly. Boston’s defense remained strong for the remainder of the game and held the Rangers to very few legitimate scoring chances.

Tukka Rask made 17 saves as the Bruins earn their ninth win in the last 12 games. After the brutal performance against the Detroit Red Wings, the Bruins displayed toughness in an all-around tremendous output. Zdeno Chara’s poise and passion inspired a victory against the Rangers. Once again, Chara’s leadership and value proves to be vitally important to this team.

Michael LeDuc writes about the Boston Celtics for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @mike_leduc, like his Facebook page and add him on Google.

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