Caps taking aim at Chara

Caps taking aim at Chara
April 23, 2012, 9:41 pm
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Way back in 1974 Stanley Cup Finals, the Flyers employed an unusual strategy against the Boston Bruins and their Hall of Fame defenseman Bobby Orr.

Instead of denying him the puck, they dumped it into his corner and ran him every chance they could. By the sixth and deciding game of that series, Orr was so tired and frustrated that he took a penalty late and watched the Flyers celebrate their victory from the penalty box.

Thirty-eight years later the Capitals are attempting a similar strategy with Norris Trophy candidate Zdeno Chara, dumping pucks into the right corner of the offensive zone and chasing it like a bloodhound on a raw piece of meat.

If we get to the puck first we want to make contact because every little bump adds up and becomes more severe, Capitals center Jay Beagle said. When it gets to Game 7 everything hurts a little more. The body is starting to get beat up a little bit.

Hes a tough guy and we just need to continue to put the puck deep and get some bangs on him.

At 6-foot-9, 255 pounds Chara is considered one of the most physically dominating players of his era. But the Caps have put a beating on the Bruins 35-year-old captain through six games.

Entering Wednesday nights Game 7 in Boston, Chara has logged 164 minutes, 17 seconds of ice time, second most in the playoffs behind Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn. By comparison, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has logged 121:13, which ranks fifth on the Capitals and 39th in the NHL.

In Game 6 Ovechkin bloodied the bridge of Charas nose with a careless high stick, only to see Chara return to play 30:33 of ice time.

With one more battle left to be waged in this series it will be worth watching just how many times the Capitals will lay the body on the biggest man on the ice, and what kind of effect it has in the final round of what has been an entertaining heavyweight fight.

You get worn down a bit, Capitals coach Dale Hunter said. Hes a big guy. Hes used to playing big minutes. We just have to keep working on him, working on him, and good things will happen.