Boston, MA -- Zdeno Chara
doesn’t like talking about himself, but everyone else has plenty to say about Big Zee.
“There’s no doubt to me, he set the tone tonight,” head coach Claude Julien said after the 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens last night. “Physically, the amount of ice he had, he handled it well and he was strong in all situations: obviously scoring a couple of goals, defending, winning battles, everything, every part of it, the physical part of it. He was outstanding tonight. I cannot say enough about his performance.”
Chara, who scored the first two goals for Boston, also matched a career-high for goals in a game. This was his second two-goal game of the season.
“It was a really heartfelt game, but a really exciting game to play right from the get-go,” Chara said. “We tried to set a tone; we tried to play hard and really physical and it paid off eventually. We got those power play chances and finally we capitalized so it was a good team effort.”
But his solid performance, for which Julien said he would give Chara the first Star of the Game to share with goaltender Tim Thomas
(34 saves), was something Chara all but brushed off.
According to the defenseman, there was simply nothing different about Tuesday night.
“I just try to play hard and give my best every night and I never really change anything,” said the Bruins captain. “I just try to give my best and, but it’s not just me. It’s the whole team and its five guys on the ice and 24 guys in the locker room and on the bench.
“It’s a team game and it’s a team win and we all play for the same results and it’s nice to see right now that we’re playing hard.”
As per usual, Chara pointed to others.
“[Chuck Kobasew] is doing really good job in front of the net and really screening the goalies and always being in traffic,” he said. “He made a really good play, really, he kicked the puck to me and then I tried to go low blocker and it worked and, second one [goal], we had that long two-man advantage and we had some chances and then finally we got a little opening and a little luck too.”
According to Claude Julien, luck has nothing to do with it. In fact, Julien says that the selflessness and one-for-all attitude of the players, as exemplified by Chara, is what has rocketed them to the top of the standings from day one.
“It’s a good group of guys who want to play for each other. There’s a lot of pride in there,” said Julien of the B’s locker room. “They’ll come in and they’ll push each other. They’re quick to address the situation, and even when we come in from the end of the period, I can be in my office and I’m going to hear them talking about the things we saw.”
Fellow defenseman Mark Stuart said Chara really proved the worth of the ‘C’ on his chest, but he wasn’t really surprised by the level of play he brought to the quick-paced game.
“He’s one of those guys that lets his play speak for itself and he really stepped up tonight,” Stuart said. “He’s always playing a lot of minutes…defensively, he was really good.”
But regardless of being a stand out, crowd-pleasing player, Chara deflects all of the emphasis to his fellow Bruins. “We support each other, we backup each other, we play for each other. We know what this team is all about and doesn’t matter…we just stick together and back each other up.”