BostonBruins.com - The Bruins are not usually dialed in to upcoming offensive milestones. Often, they are informed after the fact.
They then take in the moment, and appreciate the accomplishment.
But when Zdeno Chara scored to put the Bruins up 6-3 over the New York Islanders Monday night on Long Island, recording his 500th NHL point in the process, there was a visible happiness from the always intense captain as he threw his arms up in the air.
"The win is obviously big. We knew we were facing a really good team, and a team that is battling for the playoffs, so they gave us basically a good challenge," Chara said following the win that gave the Bruins their third straight victory. "And we were very fortunate to score some goals and control the game at the end."
Chara's goal gave his team full control in the third period. Dougie Hamilton gave the puck to Brad Marchand, who did the work along the boards to maintain puck possession and feed it up to Chara at the right point.
The defenseman did the rest, wristing the puck on net, where it bounced off of goalie Kevin Poulin's blocker and in. Chara's fists pumped towards the rafters, as Marchand, Hamilton, Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith all gathered 'round.
It was his 12th goal of the season, the 156th of his career, and point No. 500.
"As far as I'm concerned, I don't think there's any one defenseman that I would trade [him for]," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien.
"You know, such a valuable asset, size, strength, defensively he'll shut down every top player in the league, does a good job at it, but at the same time, because he doesn't rush the puck Bobby Orr style I guess, we tend to forget that he still brings some pretty good offense. So you've seen him on the power play, you've seen his shots from the point."
"He's a really good all-around player and I'm really happy for him that he's accomplished that."
Chara was awarded the League's James Norris Memorial Trophy in 2009, and was a Finalist in 2011 and 2012, but the Bruins say year after year that, in their minds, 'Big Zee' is always their Norris winner.
Of all active NHL defensemen, Chara's 500 points rank him fourth, with just Dan Boyle, Kimmo Timonen and Sergei Gonchar having higher totals.
He's a plus-174 through the span of 1,105 games that helped him reach the milestone.
Through the game against the Islanders on January 27, the 6-foot-9, 255-pound backbone of the Bruins has now notched 325 points in the Spoked-B. Only five other defensemen who have ever donned the Black & Gold sit above him in all-time points with the franchise (Ray Bourque, Bobby Orr, Dit Clapper, Brad Park and Doug Mohns).
The other 175 points came with the team that drafted him 56th overall in 1996, the New York Islanders, and the Ottawa Senators.
"It's just a coincidence, but it's nice to get that milestone," Chara said, as he sat in his stall of the visiting team locker room at the Nassau Coliseum, just a quick walk down the hall to where he suited up for his first NHL games in 1997.
"I'm fortunate that the Islanders drafted me so many years ago and gave me a chance to play in this league."
The big man who wears the 'C' isn't usually too fond of talking about himself, especially when it comes to the offensive part of his game. He believes he mostly gets lucky, and that his teammates around him are the ones to always provide him with the opportunities to score.
After notching his 500th point, it almost seemed that the milestone had forced him to reflect back on himself. As he sat in the locker stall, surrounded by reporters, he allowed the meaning of it all to seep in.
"I just try to keep working hard and always improving and try to work on my weaknesses and keep moving forward," said a soft-spoken Chara.
"You know, I don't know what to say really…I'm not used to reaching many milestones. I just try to focus on my game each night."
Watch Chara notch his 500th NHL point below...