Had it been scheduled for the end of this month, Zdeno Chara’s first game in Boston after 14 years with the Bruins could have coincided with the recently approved return of fans to the TD Garden.
But it wasn’t like that for the Washington Capitals defender. As it stands, he doesn’t care, as the Capitals prepare to visit the Bruins for the first time this season on Wednesday night.
“The environment (in Boston) is something that I was very close to for many years, but I think we all need to realize that once the record is dropped, you really have to focus on what’s going on inside the glass and just Act”. said Chara, 43, who is averaging 19:24 ice time in his first season with the Capitals.
Boston’s first home game with fans is scheduled for March 23, with a capacity of 12 percent supported under Massachusetts COVID-19 protocols.
Wednesday’s meeting will be the first of two this week between the teams. The Capitals and Bruins play in Boston again on Friday.
Washington has won three in a row and is 6-1-1 in its last eight games, while Boston is coming off a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers on Sunday. The Bruins had been outscored 13-4 in their previous two games.
“That’s Bruins hockey for us,” said forward Charlie Coyle, who scored two goals in Sunday’s win. “We get the result most of the time when we play that way. You could see it every turn, the guys doing their job and playing their part. It’s important to our identity, and that’s huge.”
The Boston defense also clamped down after their back-to-back tough performances. Tuukka Rask made 20 saves against New York.
On another upside, the Bruins welcomed center David Krejci (lower body) to practice in a regular jersey Tuesday. Krejci has been out of the game since February 18. Also practicing defender Matt Grzelcyk, who has been out since Feb. 10 with a lower body injury.
Washington has some key injuries of its own, with center Evgeny Kuznetsov (upper body) missing the team’s two-game series against the New Jersey Devils over the weekend. It did not slow down the team too much, as the capitals recorded 5-2 and 3-2 victories.
Sunday’s victory saw goalkeeper Ilya Samsonov make 19 saves in his first game since Jan.17 after a long recovery from COVID-19. Samsonov allowed goals early in the first and second periods before settling down to contain the Devils in a goalless third period.
“When it’s 3-2 and the game is on the line, I actually thought it was when (Samsonov) was at his best, so he got better as the game went on,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “In the third period, he made some really important saves for our team, which allowed us to come out with the points.”
The Capitals and Bruins played twice earlier this season in Washington. The teams divided the meetings, although Boston went with three points (1-0-1) after losing a 4-3 decision in overtime on January 30 and notching a 5-3 victory two days later.
– Field level media
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.