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Chara Leads the Way in Win Over Coyotes

B's Captain takes control to end two-game skid

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

GLENDALE, Ariz. - David Pastrnak found out the hard way that Zdeno Chara was going to be a force to be reckoned with on Saturday night.

With the Bruins trailing by a goal late in the first period, Pastrnak parked himself at the top of the crease. When a sizzling Chara one-timer came buzzing toward the net, there was little time for the winger to avoid it.

And, on this occasion, that was a good thing.

The blast ricocheted off Pastrnak's backside and past Arizona goaltender Louis Domingue to tie the game. It was a painful, but rewarding goal for the 21-year-old and proved to be the beginning of a stellar night for Boston's captain.

Chara followed up with his first goal of the season and another assist for a three-point night that paced Boston to a 6-2 victory over the Coyotes on Saturday night at Gila River Arena.

"Pretty good shift and I ended up in the front," said Pastrnak, who also added an assist. "As soon as the puck hit me, I was like this better [have] went in. It hurt, it's Big Zees' shot…obviously happy it went in. Sometimes those goals get us going.

"[Chara] since the first shift…he was ready. We have a young team so we all follow him. It was an important goal for us. A dirty one and then we got going."

Video: BOS@ARI: Chara shoots, puck banks in off Pastrnak

Boston went on to score three unanswered goals in the second period, seizing control of a game that it desperately needed to win. After dropping two straight to the Colorado Avalanche, the Bruins - stocked with young, developing talent - turned to their veterans to lead the way. Chara did not disappoint.

"It starts with Zee tonight," said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. "He wanted to make a difference. Zee deserves a lot of credit for the win."

Much like he has for the majority of his 12-year reign as Bruins captain, the 40-year-old rose to the occasion when his team needed it.

"There's a reason why he's our captain and leader," said Brad Marchand, who had a goal and an assist. "Just shows why he continues to be a great hockey player. Steps up at the right time and always comes up big in important games. He did tonight.

"We lost a couple in a row and needed a boost and he was there to give it to us. He's gonna be a Hall of Famer for a reason and showed that again tonight."

After assisting on Pastrnak's early tally, Chara got one of his own - from some unfamiliar territory. Following a 2-on-1 break between Pastrnak and Marchand that proved to be unsuccessful, Chara followed up the play and jammed a Marchand feed toward the net.

Domingue made the initial save, but Chara continued his charge to the crease and slapped home the rebound for his first of the year and a 3-1 Boston lead at 5:03 of the second.

"Zee driving there. He's a load to move. That was interesting. Good for him, memories of Montreal last year," said Cassidy, referencing Chara's nifty dangle against the Canadiens last season.

Video: BOS@ARI: Chara shovels home his own rebound

Chara, who rarely finds himself below the tops of the circles in the attacking zone, said the play evolved naturally and there was no concerted effort to increase his offensive attack entering the game.

"Sometimes it happens, sometimes that's the way the game is," said Chara, who was a plus-3 and attempted eight shots on goal, with three hitting the net. "On the first goal, we kind of ended up in a rotation that we were working on. Just ended up hitting Pasta. On the second one, I read the rush and out of that turnover, I just followed up.

"They had four guys going and once they made that turnover I was able to jump and join the rush, recovered and got back in time. I was able to go all the way in and put that rebound in."

Chara's effort had a clear impact on his teammates, most notably his defense partner. Brandon Carlo played his best game of the season, notching an assist on Pastrnak's goal, while posting a team-high plus-4 rating.

And, ultimately, the success of his teammates - and the team as a whole - is what matters most to the Bruins unquestioned leader.

"That's obviously a big, big win for us," said Chara. "Everybody contributed to it. Obviously we know that our job as veterans is to pull the good share of the load. We got that and obviously the younger group of players stepped up as well. You need that.

"You need to have everybody on the same page, otherwise it's gonna be more difficult. But I thought tonight was a lot of positives and good energy. We created a lot of chances and capitalized."

Video: The Bruins react after a 6-2 win in ARI

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