Chara/By S. Bradley

This post is part of a series looking back at the top 10 games of the Bruins’ 2010-11 regular season.

There’s no doubt 2009-10 was a down year in terms of production for Zdeno Chara.

While his performance is graded on many things before goals, that he only scored seven goals in the season prior to this was a disappointment. With one game in mid-January this season, the Bruins captain not only surpassed his previous year’s total but rocked the TD Garden to a fever pitch.

Chara’s hat trick in a 7-o rout of Carolina Jan. 11 was exciting enough to rank eighth among the top 10 Bruins games of the 2010-11 season, as picked by TheBruinsBlog.net.

Just 11:28 into the game, Chara emerged from the penalty box and cashed in on a 2-on-1 with Mark Recchi for a 2-0 lead. The goal chased Carolina goaltender Cam Ward to the bench and was Chara’s eighth of the season.

Only 4:30 later, Chara extended the lead to 3-0 on a 5-on-3 with a one-timer from above the right dot after a cross-ice pass by David Krejci. To cap off his first NHL hat trick, Chara again converted on a power play, as he ripped a puck through the 5-hole into the back of the net with 5:56 left.

Chara then, in a rare show of regular-season emotion, borrowed from his countryman Peter Bondra and prevented to wave and toss a cap off his head as the Garden faithful showered him and the ice with their head coverings.

That Chara didn’t win the Norris Trophy just based on his plus-33 rating accumulated against the league’s top lines every night was a bit of a travesty. But with a three-goal night that contributed to his 14-goal season, Chara made sure that his offensive game wouldn’t be a hindrance to his award chances.

Chara’s hat-trick performance was certainly a night to remember.