Given the situation, Bruins fans might have understood if Zdeno Chara
and the Bruins had come into the B's match-up against the Montreal Canadiens with a lot of different things in mind.
However, B's Head Coach Claude Julien said that there was only one thing on the Bruins agenda -- winning.
"I could tell," said Julien of his the team's focus, pregame. "I could tell in the dressing room when guys came in and they seemed focused, prepared.
"So it was way before the puck was dropped."
Chara had three assists and was named the first star after Boston's decisive 7-0 victory over Montreal on Thursday night. After the big win, Boston's big man talked about his game and what was going through his mind as he took the ice versus the Habs.
"Well we wanted to have a good, strong performance tonight," said Chara. "Montreal is playing well and obviously they’re a good team.
"But our focus was obviously on our game.
"We tried to play our game and stay focused in our game plan," continued Chara. "And every time you get away from that against a team like that, they’re going to make you pay.
"So like I said, we really tried to stay focused and tried to establish our game plan and play strong.
"We got ahead in the first twenty and from that point I thought we handled and controlled the game pretty well," he said.
Chara was a major factor in that control.
"He’s a special player," said Nathan Horton
. "Not just because of his size. He’s so smart and he’s good with the puck.
"We’re definitely lucky to have him. He’s a treat to play with and to watch him every day is something."
"Zee really stepped up," said Brad Marchand
. "The guys did a great job of helping him out.
"It shows why he is such a great leader and a great captain in a situation like this.
"He steps up and has a game like he did," Marchand said.Johnny Boychuk
, Chara's defensive partner, had a pretty good view of Chara's exploits versus Montreal.
"He’s been playing well -- no matter what. And just to see him come out like he did tonight it shows what kind of team captain we got," said Boychuk.
"He didn’t stray away from his game. He just blocked everything out and wanted to play his game, and that is what he did. He has contributed a lot.
"Obviously, everybody wanted to just win it for him and for our whole team," he said.
Chara remained in stoic character postgame and focused on the business at hand.
"It’s always talk, but I was really focusing on the game on the ice, and that was my first priority," he said. "And, obviously, we all knew that this was a huge game, not just from what happened the past few weeks, but in the standings as well.
"So guys played really hard and showed a lot of character in this room. And a lot of guys stepped up in their games and played huge. And [Tim Thomas
] had a shutout. We had big contributions from the third and fourth line, our power play was really solid, moved the puck well. We killed all the penalties.
"So basically we had everything going," he said.
And now, with what Coach Julien called "the soap opera stuff" behind them, the B's can focus on their finish.
"Well we used the previous game as well," Chara said. "That was the first step forward from the previous games. And obviously now we have two games with a good solid effort.
"And we know that next opponents we have -- Rangers, Flyers, Chicago -- are going to be a good challenge for us.
"So we've just got to stay focused and not get too high or too low. We just got to stay nice and humble and get ready for next games," he said.