BOSTON -- Boston Bruins rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton has a theory about how Zdeno Chara is able to play 38 minutes in an overtime game, the way he did Thursday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
"He maybe plugs himself in at night," Hamilton said. "It's pretty incredible."
The plug-himself-in theory goes along with Hamilton's nickname for his defense partner.
"I keep calling him a machine because of how good he is on the ice for the minutes he plays," Hamilton said.
Chara played 38:02 in Game 1 against the New York Rangers, including more than half of the overtime session, which lasted 15:40 until Brad Marchand scored the winner to give the Bruins a 3-2 victory.
The Bruins captain scored a goal in the second period and started the game-winning rush in overtime by poke-checking Derick Brassard's cross-ice pass to send Patrice Bergeron and Marchand in on a 2-on-1.
"To be able to do that, obviously it's a huge credit to him," Hamilton said of Chara. "Just to be able to watch that, I think everyone is amazed by it and it makes it a lot easier on our whole team."
Chara's importance to the Bruins is even greater now that veterans Andrew Ference, Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden are out of the lineup because of injuries. In their absence, the team is using rookies Hamilton, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski to fill the holes. Playing under that kind of pressure only makes Chara's teammates marvel even more at his ability to play huge minutes and contribute offensively.
"Those expectations are huge, but for him the way he's conditioned and the way he prepares and takes care of himself, he's learned to be able to deal with those minutes," forward Gregory Campbell said. "It takes a certain breed of player to be able handle that situation, that pressure, and obviously he does it successfully."