Chara coming through on PP in different ways

Chara coming through on PP in different ways
September 23, 2013, 11:45 pm
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BOSTON -- There's no denying the fact that the Bruins have room for improvement on their power play. And no better time than the preseason to try and see what works best.

Zdeno Chara seems to be right in the middle of whatever test runs the B's are trying to work through on the man advantage in the preseason.

On Monday night against the Washington Capitals at the TD Garden, Chara scored two goals. Both on the power play. Both as a result of different strategic positioning for the 6-foot-9 captain.

Simply put, both of Chara's goals in Boston's 3-2 overtime win on Monday, were what you you call, "how you drew it up."

The first came on a 5-on-4 power play, with 1:38 left in the second period that tied the game at 1-1. The plan was for Chara to set up shop in front of the net, screening Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby.

Chara did just that, stood out front, and redirected a low Dennis Seidenberg shot from the middle of the point that found its way past Holtby.

"That's a great example of sometimes keeping those things simple," said Chara after the win. "And then just a give-and-go and a shot at the net, and just working in front trying to take the goalie's eyes away."

"He creates some havoc in front of there, and probably on a normal night, we probably would have had more success," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "But their goaltender played extremely well tonight. We had a hard time getting pucks past him.

"You're going to see him at the point at times. And on that 5-on-3, you saw what his shot can do as well, from back there."

That came 22 seconds into the third period, and 11 seconds into a 5-on-3 power play.

Chara was set up at the right point, down closer to the top of the right circle, with Seidenberg on the left. Chara and Seidenberg moved the puck back and forth several times, before Chara -- and his lefty shot -- let one rip top-right, putting the Bruins up 2-1.

Whether it was in front of the net, or on the point, Chara came through on the power play on Monday night.

Afterwards, the Bruins explained that they still don't know which strategy they're going to stick with on the 5-on-4 man advantage.

"We're just getting used to it," said Chara on being out front of the net on the power play. "It's not always working the way we want. But that's the way it is sometimes.

"At times we have to keep it more simple, and always work hard," added Chara. "It doesn't matter who we have [out front]. We've just got to keep outworking those four guys."

"Eighty-two games is a long year, guys, so nothing is carved in stone," said Julien.

But what Julien did feel the need to point out, was the extent of Chara's value to being positioned out front of the net on the power play, and how it goes beyond just putting a big body in front of a goalie.

"Z's not just in front to screen," said Julien. "Z's in there for more than that. He's also a guy that's very good, believe it or not, people don't see him as a quick skater, but he's got the long reach, and retrieving those loose pucks, he's very good at it as well. You saw him behind the net, or anything around him, with that long reach, he can either poke it back to the half-walls, or he can get it himself.

"I think there's a lot more qualities in Zdeno in front than people think," added Julien. "And I know people see the size of him for a screen, but he does more things than that to be valuable in front."