Boston Bruins Zdeno Chara Hits Milestone With Shorthanded Goal Against Montreal Canadiens
When Zdeno Chara scored against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday, the TD Garden erupted. It isn’t every day that the 6-foot-9 defenseman joins the rush. It also isn’t every day that Chara scores shorthanded goals – but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
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In fact, Zdeno Chara holds the highest short-handed goal total among active NHL defensemen with seven. The big man isn’t going to put up goal totals like he used to, but it’s still nice to see him chip in when he can in addition to his stout defense.
Many will remember Chara’s spin-o-rama goal in 2013 against the Florida Panthers. If the big man has proven anything, it’s that he’s good for a highlight reel goal every few years – that’ll tend to happen for players who are nearly seven feet tall off of skates.
Coaching Change Making a Difference
Under new head coach Bruce Cassidy, Bruins defensemen scoring goals has become something of a trend. In three games since Cassidy took over, Bruins defensemen have totaled nine points, including goals from Kevan Miller, Adam McQuaid and Chara. Outside of point totals, it’s been clear that the Bruins are using their defense in a more offensive style as of late, and the results have paid immediate dividends.
It has to be mentioned, but it’s still very early in the Cassidy-era. Jumping to conclusions wouldn’t make sense, but the Bruins recent success has been noticeable. In the three games, against the San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks and Montreal Canadiens, the Bruins have outscored their opponents 14-6.
For a shutdown defenseman like Chara who’s 39-years-old, this could bode well. Getting every other defender on the roster involved in the game plan. Changing the team’s plan of attack has also rolled to the defense – everybody is still accountable defensively, but the fast transition has made it easier for defenders to get back into position.
The Bruins still have a long way to go if they want to make the playoffs this season. When looking at current point projections, the team looks poised to finish in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 90 points. It’s entirely possible that the Bruins can continue to build on their current success – three straight wins and six wins in their last eight games. If they do, the playoffs could be within their reach.
For now, the Bruins will head into their bye week on a high note. Tuukka Rask earned his 36th career shutout, passing Frank Brimsek for second place in Bruins franchise history. He and team earned a rare win against the Montreal Canadiens at home, and now the team can relax and prepare for the rest of the regular season.