-- Alex Ovechkin
is rare because of his mix of power and skill, but also because he actually looks forward to the opportunity to go up against the towering Zdeno Chara
, Boston's 6-foot-9 captain.
"It's a challenge," Ovechkin said Wednesday. "Not just for me, but for everybody."
Chara was on Ovechkin for nearly every shift through the two periods Tuesday, and he held the Capitals' superstar to one shot on goal. When the Bruins switched Chara to play against Alexander Semin
in the third, putting their top line of Nathan Horton
, Milan Lucic
and David Krejci
against Ovechkin's line, No. 8 managed to get off four shots in nearly 10 minutes of ice time.
But it's likely that with the last change in Thursday's game, Ovi will be seeing a heck of a lot of the Bruins' big captain again. He's smiling about that.
Ovechkin vs. Chara (Click image to enlarge)
"He's a top-five defenseman in the NHL. To make some hits and moves against him gives you some belief, some confidence," said Ovechkin, who has 19 points in 17 games against the Bruins since Chara came to Boston 2006. "It's pretty hard to make a move against him because if you make a move he's still going to catch you because his stick is long and he's tough. What you have to do is chip the puck on the board and try to skate around him, or pass it and try to skate around him."
Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau
expects Ovechkin to get the best of Chara.
"Listen, Ovi has had people on him for five years, and when he's playing at the top of his game he makes his own space," Boudreau said. "It's not a surprise that when we play that every team says, 'Let's cover him, let's not let him beat us.' And, he finds ways. He had a couple of chances yesterday, but Boston, give them credit, they did a good job."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl