Chara's timely goal a thing of beauty for Bruins

Chara's timely goal a thing of beauty for Bruins
February 24, 2013, 9:15 pm
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SUNRISE, FL – The intimidating, meaner-than-a-junkyard-dog Bruins defenseman looked thoroughly sheepish when asked if it was the prettiest goal he’s ever scored in his career.

The “it” was a 360 spin-o-rama into a roofed backhander while dangling through traffic in the offensive zone against the Florida Panthers, and the “who” was Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. Brad Marchand tossed a backhanded saucer pass that was a little behind the hard-charging Chara, but the Bruins defenseman never slowed his stride while collecting the puck, spinning 360 degrees while dangling with the puck toward the net. He saved the best for last as he roofed a short-side backhander through a sliver of open space as Jacob Markstrom tried to cover the post. It was like watching the footwork and dexterity of a professional dancer simply showing off in a flight of fancy.

“That was a pretty nice move for a big guy like that,” said Claude Julien. “He had to keep control of it and lift it up. It was one of those nice goals. I just hope he doesn’t get carried away with it now and start tip-toeing around players out there.”

Fat chance of that happening to the one NHL player nobody enjoys lining up against.

The 6-foot-9 intimidator on skates performed his customary job by shutting down Florida’s top offensive players while logging a team-high 23:43 of ice time in the on-ice humidity consistently present in the southern NHL rinks.

But Chara also unveiled the most aesthetically pleasing goal of his career that served as the game-winner for the Bruins in a 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center. The Bruins captain was unsurprisingly laconic about the goal post-game, and just happy about the team result that came along with it.

"My game is simple. That’s not my priority,” said Chara. “But I was glad and happy we got the lead with that goal.

“It was a good game for us. It’s always hard for us to play on these trips. They were worked extremely hard against us and never gave up. We were just able to create some chances and score some goals. It’s always nice to win.”

It served as a pretty stunning reminder of how all-around awesome Chara still is at both ends of the ice, and the kind of offense the 34-year-old is still capable of producing while the media fawns all over 19-year-old Dougie Hamilton. Chara blocked four shots, tossed out three registered hits, held all of Florida’s best offensive guns off the board and seemed to toss in the breathtaking goal for good measure.

“I watched that from the bench. That was a beauty,” said forward Daniel Paille, who finished with a pair of points in Sunday’s win. “He made a great play with the spin-o-rama, and I think what was more amazing was the backhand up close to the net. I watched the video, realized there wasn’t much room there and saw that he roofed it.”

It’s been a nice little stabilizing month in February for Chara, who is a plus-5 over eight games this month and has bounced back from a horrific defensive performance against the Sabres at the end of last month. Now he’s not flying under the radar anymore this season after scoring a goal that’s going to be on every hockey highlight reel show from Tampa Bay to Thunder Bay.

But that’s nothing new for Chara. It’s just a reminder how vital he is to everything that’s gone right with the Bruins franchise over the last six seasons, and how capable he still is of helping carry the Black and Gold on his powerful shoulders.