BOSTON – The Boston Bruins are having a little fun so far this season watching 6-foot-9 defenseman Zdeno Chara turn into a power forward on the power play.
Chara scored a power-play goal and helped set up Torey Krug’s score with the man advantage by just standing in front of the net, leading the Bruins to a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night.
“If you don’t have a play, throw it down front to Z (Chara) and (Milan Lucic) and they’ll battle,” Krug said. “We have a good thing going so far. We’re having fun.”
Brad Marchand scored the tiebreaking goal 36 seconds into the second period and Tuukka Rask made 25 saves as the Bruins improved to 2-0.
Jordan Caron added an even-strength score for Boston.
“It’s always been a basic part of my game to work hard,” Chara said. “When I’m in there, I might as well enjoy it.”
Henrik Zetterberg scored for the Red Wings, who are in the same division with the Bruins after the NHL realigned following last season.
Detroit’s Jimmy Howard, playing his third straight game, made 33 saves.
“It’s not easy when there’s somebody that’s 6-foot-8 standing in front of you,” Howard said. “It’s something you’ve got to figure out and try and find a way to try and find the puck. But it’s extremely difficult with him in front.”
On the opening shift of the second period, Marchand broke in and fired a wrist shot that caromed into the net off the far post, pushing Boston ahead 2-1.
Caron’s goal gave the Bruins a 3-1 edge midway into the second period. Reilly Smith backhanded a pass from the slot to Caron, who one-timed a shot past Howard.
Chara, playing in front of the net on the power play, collected a pass in front and looked like a polished goal scorer, shifting around Howard before tucking a shot inside the right post midway into the third. Krug collected an assist.
Krug unloaded a slap shot from the left point that gave Boston a 1-0 lead midway into the opening period. It came just 15 seconds after Niklas Kronwall was sent off for holding.
“In the second period that’s something we talked about,” Krug said of Chara’s play in front. “I think I talked to Krej (David Krejci) about it, ‘What should I do with the puck?’ He said, ‘Just give it to Z, he’s going to win every battle.’“
The Red Wings tied it late in the period when Zetterberg collected a rebound in front and slipped a shot by Rask inside the right post.
Rask made a nice sliding stop on Justin Abdelkader’s bid from in close a few minutes before Zetterberg’s goal.
Boston outshot the Red Wings, 37-26.
“They won in every statistic tonight,” Howard said. “Every battle.”
Marchand took a hard hit and was face down on the ice for a while early in the second. He was leveled when Abdelkader left his feet and blind-sided the winger. Marchand was helped to the bench, but returned later in the period.