There were a lot of remarkable things that happened during the Capitals’ 6-3 comeback win over the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Capitals came back from a 3-0 deficit, scored six unanswered goals, and found a way to win despite many of their star players being out. But it was the Capitals’ fifth goal of the evening that was special and something you’ll never forget. It was so remarkable that it gave the game a season-defining feel.
Late in the second period, 43-year-old Zdeno Chara scored on a rocket from the point, giving him his first goal as a Capital. Chara turned to the bench to celebrate and was quickly engulfed by literally everyone on the team in a giant goal hug.
Everyone hug Dad! pic.twitter.com/PMwowVTHkF
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) January 29, 2021
After the game, Chara was asked about the moment.
“Obviously, very excited that I get first goal as a member of Washington Capitals,” Chara said. “I turned to the guys at the bench right away. I just wanted to share that joy and excitement with them since they’ve done a really amazing job welcoming me and making that transition as easy and simple as possible for me. So I owe it to them and can’t thank them enough to accept me in the group and welcome me like they did. It’s a great group of guys. We’re having fun. We’re working hard and we’re pushing each other to be better. That’s what it’s all about. I obviously didn’t see it from the views that you guys did, but I can’t wait to watch it.”
Friday morning, Chara, who does not post much on his Instagram page, posted two photos from the mondo goal hug with the following caption.
“There is nothing like team sports,” Chara said. “Thanks to all of my teammates for this special moment.”
Chara’s practically done everything in the league. The legend’s captained a team to a Stanley Cup, won the Norris as the league’s top defenseman, and appeared at seven All-Star Games. But leaving a team you led during your best 14 seasons in the NHL is a totally different animal. Leaving home is hard. It would have been natural for Chara to doubt if this one-year experiment with Washington would work or if he could still play at a high-level, especially in this weird pandemic year.
Now there is no doubt. So far, Z has dressed in every game for the Capitals and looks every bit like he has “lots of gas left.”
Chara’s goal in a weird way was just as special as Alex Ovechkin’s 700th. What Z’s accomplishing at this age on a new team is unheard of. It’s worth celebrating.
Screenshots courtesy of NBC Sports Washington
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