Bruins’ Chara saves the day

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:10 AM ET

As Zdeno Chara talked modestly of his two goals and 27 minutes of ice time, a teammate leaned into the post-game scrum and said: “Way to lead, Zeesus.”

The 6-foot-9, 255-pound captain’s work wasn’t miraculous and he certainly didn’t turn the other cheek when he launched little Tyler Ennis into the Boston bench at the end of the first period, but his good deeds had the right effect for the Bruins.

Chara’s two goals, including Saturday’s winner, evened the series with the Sabres at 1-1.

“That’s my responsibility,” Chara said. “This time of year, everyone’s battling, everyone’s playing physical. You have to step up and do that job.”

Chara was not as effective in Game 1 when he let buzzsaw Sabres such as Patrick Kaleta get to him, spending six minutes in the penalty box. But on Saturday, he could do no wrong. His first goal tied the game, his second won it and even when he came out on the wrong end of a collision and tumbled into his own net, he knocked the goal off its moorings to cause a whistle and disrupt Buffalo’s momentum.

His most valuable play, however, might have been the hit that sent Ennis, who weighs 100 pounds less, into the laps of several Bruins.

“Right there is a perfect example of us having to control our emotions,” Boston coach Claude Julien praised. “We did not run out of position and go for the big hits. He obviously sent a message right at the buzzer, but there was no reason to worry about (getting carried away) and then he came back and played solid.”

Boston had 51 hits, nine by Vladimir Sobotka, seven by Milan Lucic and at least three by 10 players, including Chara.

Also standing tall was Tuukka Rask, who came back from allowing the first shot to beat him and hearing 19,000 fans at HSBC Arena taunt him, to make 26 saves the rest of the way.

“They have to learn to pronounce my name right,” Rask said with a grin. “It’s Toka, not Toooka.”

On a serious note, the rookie Finn says the young Bruins have learned their lesson after splitting the first two games

“I think everyone realizes it’s playoffs and we can’t let down,” Rask said, as Boston became the first team this season to beat Buffalo when it had a third-period lead.

lance.hornby@sunmedia.ca


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