Zdeno Chara scored twice, both on the power-play, leading the Boston Bruin to a 2-0 win over the Calgary Flames. For the Bruins (23-9-2), it was their second win against the Flames in a week. Boston looked much better in this game than they did in the previous one against the Flames even with their somewhat shaky start.
It was not a terrible opening period for the team, but they were not very sharp. They were making sloppy passes that were just missing and making uncharacteristic turnover in the neutral zone that led to some good opportunities for the Flames. The best goal scoring chance for either team came less than two-minutes into the game when Flames center Matt Stajan was one-on-on with Tuukka Rask right in front of the net. As he often does, Rask came up with the big save and kept the game scoreless.
The first period was a good example of just how important Rask is to the team. As we all know, the team is prone to shaky starts to games and it is a huge advantage to have a one of the best, if not the best, goaltenders in the NHL coming up with big saves early to keep them in the game. After the uneasy first, the Bruins came out in the second and really took the game over.
At 5:23 of the second period the Bruins went on a four-minute power-play thanks to a double minor hi-stick penalty to Lance Bouma. The Boston power-play, which has been much better this year, came through with a goal in the second half of the penalty, and it was thanks to their captain.
Moving from the point on the power-play down low to in front of the net has been instrumental in the improvement of the teams special teams. More skillful players like Torey Krug and David Krejci can now play up top and use their excellent vision to find the open lanes, for both shots and passes. Moving down low is also better for Chara because he can use his big body to win puck battles, screen the goalie, use his humongous reach to track down loose pucks.
It was another power-play goal by Chara at 3:19 of the third period that basically put the game away. The second goal scored was an excellent demonstration of Chara and his ability to do more than play stellar defense. A Jarome Iginla slap shot from the left faceoff dot deflected off of a Flames skater. The puck looked to be going behind Chara, but he stuck his right skate out to bring the puck in front of him and he proceeded to score. Although he is not known for his offensive skill, that play showed the big man does have the ability to make plays occasionally.
After the win, the Bruins are 11-0-2 in their last 13 home games. The team keeps on winning despite all the injuries they have to deal with lately. They next play tonight in Buffalo against the struggling Sabres. Boston is better than Buffalo and they should be able to continue their hot streak, but if they take the game too lightly they have shown they can be beaten. I don’t expect a let down however, and look forward to another win.