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Zdeno Chara doesn’t really step up; he just continues to be great

12.17.13 at 11:22 pm ET
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It’s rare that Zdeno Chara doesn’t step up, which is why it wouldn’t really be fair to say he “stepped up” in the Bruins’ 2-0 win over the Flames on Tuesday. But he did play one of his best games of the season, and not just because he registered his first two-goal game since May 4, 2011.

In fact, you could make the case that the two goals weren’t even the most impressive part of his game. They both came on the power play, an area where he’s been getting more and more comfortable all season. The first was a one-timer — he’s always had that. The second was a put-back from the top of the crease — he hasn’t been in that role on a regular basis until this year.

But only 1:56 of Chara’s 22:44 time on ice came on the power play. So what was Chara doing the rest of that time? He was dominating just as much as he dominated on the power play.

The Bruins had a plus-16 Corsi (even-strength shot attempts) with Chara on the ice Tuesday, marking a season best for the Bruins captain. The Flames attempted just six shots with Chara on the ice (also a season best), and only three of them were actually on goal.

After an embarrassing 6-2 loss to Vancouver on Saturday, it was exactly the kind of performance you’d want from your captain. But again, it would be a disservice to Chara to suggest this was some sort of personal turnaround.

Between injuries, illnesses, suspensions and late-night altercations captured on video, this has been the most trying stretch of the season for the Bruins. And Chara has been a rock through it all.

“I think it’s not even just this stretch,” Jarome Iginla said. “I think he’s such a consistent competitor. Every game he’s on. It definitely is contagious. We all see it and all want to follow him. He’s focused every game. Every game, every shift he’s ready and ready to go and play as hard as he can.”

Whether it’s been with his actions or his words — Chara said he did have to address the team at one point during this stretch, although he wouldn’t reveal when it was or what he said — he has helped keep this ship on course.

But as Claude Julien will tell you, that’s nothing new.

“Not really,” Julien said when asked if Chara has done anything different during this stretch. “That’s the beauty of it. It’s a compliment, because our team hasn’t changed. You go in that dressing room, it’s still the same, just a few new faces. But our demeanor, I guess our approach, nothing has changed.”

And nothing really changed with Chara on Tuesday. He just happened to score two goals.

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