BOSTON -- Zdeno Chara will be playing in his final game for the Boston Bruins prior to the Olympic break on Thursday night, and that’s exactly where his mind was focused as the Black and Gold prepared for the Vancouver Canucks.
Starting Wednesday the B’s captain can start to contemplate the meaning of carrying the Team Slovakia flag at the Sochi Winter Games opening ceremonies on Feb. 7, and perhaps even allow some nerves and wonderment to creep into the 6-foot-9 tower of power.
The Bruins will still have a pair of challenging games against the Blues and Senators coming up prior to Boston’s Olympic break, so it would behoove the captain and the rest of the B’s to make the most of his services against the Canucks.
“I’m excited to play. It’s a big game and we’re playing a good team. There’s another big two points on the line,” said Chara, who is keenly aware the B’s haven’t defeated the Canucks since winning Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final three years ago. “There’s a fine balance between getting caught up with your emotions overboard, but also on the other side not wanting to play too flat.
“You want to make sure you have the emotions while keeping yourself in check. You don’t want to overreact.”
The Bruins are in a good spot while in the middle of an eight-game run that’s seen them go 6-1-1, so Claude Julien said there’s no real immediacy to beating Vancouver with Chara in the lineup. It sounds like all the motivation the Bruins need to beat Vancouver is that they haven’t done it in a while.
“I think we have to look at these next three games and that we want to win every one of them,” said Julien. “It’s about the urgency of winning with [Chara] in the lineup more than that there is no doubt we’re better with him in the lineup.
“We’ve been through things many times where we’ve still been able to win games without key players, and we’re certainly going to try to do that in these games following this one [against Vancouver].”
The only other game the B’s played without Chara and Dennis Seidenberg was a road loss to the Ottawa Senators that saw some key mistakes from their young defensemen. But the next few games beyond tonight will give Boston's young blue liners another chance to show they’re indeed ready for the prime time.