BOSTON — The similarities between Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara and Montreal’s Hal Gill pretty much end at size and brevity of their last names.
Teammates of both, however, can use one to practice for facing the other in games, which can be key considering the unique reach they both have compared to most other defensemen not named Tyler Myers.
“It’s different. You don’t get to play against a guy like him too often. He does have a great reach and a long stick and also that big body,” said Bruins forward Milan Lucic about Gill after the morning skate at TD Garden in preparation for tonight’s Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series between the Bruins and Habs.
“But you learn kind of how to deal with it having to practice against Zee a lot and doing a lot of down-low drills and battling against him. It just goes to show for a guy like myself and Nathan Horton, we’ve got to take our game to that next level and dig deeper a little more and battle a little bit harder to try to push our way into the areas that we want to go. He’s a guy that definitely has a lot of playoff experience. You look at the last three years, he’s been in the Stanley Cup Final twice and last year in the third round. He knows what it takes to win, so we’re going to have to dig deep and try to outwork him.”
Montreal forward Travis Moen says he can envision Gill as Chara in practices to pick up on tendencies and create offensive moves.
“I think it definitely [helps], coming down on a 1-on-1 or a 2-on-1, you’ve got long sticks, so you’ve got to be able to know when to protect it,” said Moen. “There’s a good chance they’re going to be able to poke it off unless you protect really well. So that helps.”