BOSTON — It’s just laughable how every time the Bruins slump there’s so much criticism directed toward what type or leader Zdeno Chara is.
As if any of us know exactly what goes on behind the closed doors of the Bruins’ dressing room or know what might be afflicting the captain at any given time. Earlier this season we learned that Chara was playing with a dislocated finger that’s going to require offseason surgery. Tonight against Buffalo he added a broken nose, which required him to wear a full cage, to his list of hindrances.
All he did in a game the Bruins had to have to maintain control of their playoff destiny at TD Garden was log 30:20 of ice time (the second time in three games he has surpassed 30 minutes) and fired a rocket in the third period that was originally credited as his goal (it was later changed to Mark Recchi) in a 3-1 victory.
Playing with basically just four defensemen due to injury, the Bruins have rallied behind their all-around leader to hang onto playoff position.
“I’ve seen in the last month a determination in him that he’s going to make sure that this team makes it past the regular season,” said head coach Claude Julien. “He’s played solidly for us. He’s play through a lot of things. As you can see tonight, even though he was going to play, it wasn’t easy for him, breathing isn’t easy for him. He found a way to come in there and play a solid game for us, so he’s been the leader that we all expect him to be.”
His face might’ve been caged, but Chara was unleashed with eight shots and two hits on the night.
“After a while, you don’t even notice it,” he said. “You’re just looking at the ice and the puck, so basically just playing.”
Chara might be able to look through the cage without hindrance, but anyone watching the Bruins play can’t miss the monster Chara has been for the depleted club.