BOSTON -- Bruins captain Zdeno Chara wanted to see his team get off to a strong start Monday night in Game 6 against the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden.
He was not disappointed. Boston scored the first goal of the game for the first time in this series and never trailed in hammering out a 4-3 win Monday night that earned the underdog Bruins passage into the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The sixth-seeded Bruins took the best-of-7 series against the Northeastern Division champions, 4-2. Boston’s opponent in Round 2 has yet to be determined. The outcome of Wednesday’s Game 7 between Washington and Montreal will determine who Boston plays. It could either be fourth-seeded Pittsburgh or seventh-seeded Philadelphia.
Chara did not figure in the scoring, but he played a huge part in Monday’s win. Chara played a little more than 27 minutes in the game -- the second-highest total on the team -- and saw a team-high 3:32 on the penalty-kill unit, which killed off all three power plays Monday and finished a perfect 22-for-22 in the series.
Monday night, he discussed Game 6, as well as the keys to Boston advancing to the second round for the second-straight season.
Q: You said that you would like to see your team get that first goal. Did (David) Krejci’s first goal set the tone for you there?
Chara: It was nice to get that first goal. It always puts you in a better mood and everybody, for sure, is more excited to play with the lead, rather than from behind.
Q: What about the job Tuukka (Rask) did tonight?
Chara: He played well, made some really big saves for us -- especially in the second. For sure, he’s a big factor why we won the series.
Q: What was the difference in the series, some of the big things that got you to the next round?
Chara: I really thought our specialty teams worked extremely well. We battled hard every game. We were into almost every game -- except for Game 5 when we lost by a number of goals. And, obviously, Tuukka played solid for us.
Q: Can you talk about the whole process of killing penalties in this series and scoring a few key goals on the power play?
Chara: Yeah, we take pride in our PK. We are obviously aggressive, but at the same time well-positioned. The people we have on the ice, those are the workers and we always try to out-work the opposite power play.
Q: How about on the power play?
Chara: I don’t really know who scored the goals, really. To me it’s just stats. In the playoffs, it doesn’t matter who scores as long as we are winning games. That’s the most important factor. For sure, though, there are some guys that stepped up in the series and had big contributions. Like we saw tonight, David had two goals and an assist. That’s great when you see guys stepping up, and every night you need someone else to pull the trigger.
Q: Why was it so hard to get ahead in this series?
Chara: Really, it is hard to explain. Buffalo always has really strong starts and they come out extremely hard and put a lot of pressure on you. For sure, they earned that definition of a team that comes out flying and getting that early lead. We seem to feed off a little bit of that. When we were behind, we seemed to wake up and play much better. For sure, tonight, it was nice to come out and get the first one.