Zdeno Chara is 44-years-old, a future Hockey Hall of Famer, and a veteran of the thirteenth most games in NHL history (1,598). Zee’s seen it all and done it all. But that doesn’t mean the middle-aged defenseman won’t put his body on the line in a regular-season game like a wagon.
Saturday, during a pivotal second-period Flyers’ power play, Chara blocked three different shots and stopped a would-be Flyers goal by knocking it out of mid-air. The Capitals would go into the second intermission with a 4-2 lead and hold on to win 6-3.
“The boys were going nuts on the bench,” TJ Oshie said after the game. “We were hitting the boards for the rest of the period and a lot of guys gave him a tap on the be-hind once the period ended.”
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) April 17, 2021
First, Chara blocked a one-timer by Kevin Hayes off the right leg. Zee fell to the ice like a giant sequoia in pain. The Capitals cleared and Zee got up.
The Flyers re-entered the zone and James van Riemsdyk put a shot on net just outside the crease. Zee whacked the puck out of the air and into the corner. He retrieved the puck and then lobbed it out of the zone.
The Flyers regained the biscuit in neutral, negating a possible Capitals’ shift change, and returned in another wave into the offensive zone. Travis Konecny attempted a shot from the right circle. It was blocked by Chara.
Finally, at the buzzer, Chara blocked another attempt with his foot and collapsed in pain. Eventually, he’d get up and walk down the tunnel to the locker room as his teammates cheered.
Sadly, the NHL only credited Chara with one shot block on the play. He has 56 in 45 games this season.
“It shows you the commitment level Zee has to our team and to winning and to doing what it takes,” Oshie said. “Here’s a guy— I don’t know how many years its been —he’s played in some very important games and right now we’re in a game towards the end of the regular season. He’s still putting his body on the line. It sets a good example for the rest of the guys to follow.”
Oshie added, “It’s that time of year where you gotta start sacrificing the body and it’s good to see we’ve got guys that are willing to do it.”
We’ve always known Zee’s a warrior, but this was the first time Capitals’ fans really saw it in action with Washington. And wow.
Screenshot courtesy of NBC Sports Washington
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