For one night, Boston looked mighty good with the man advantage — and they had the big guy to thank.
That was the story at TD Garden on Saturday as the Bruins beat the Red Wings 4-1 on the strength of a dynamic-looking power play, led by defenseman Zdeno Chara.
Chara was an big net-front presence as Boston went 2-for-4 on the man advantage. The 6-foot-9 rearguard provided a nice screen on Torey Krug’s game-opening PP goal, then notched one himself in the third period on a great skill play:
Brad Marchand and Jordan Caron also scored for Boston on the night, pushing the Bruins to a perfect 2-0-0 on the year.
Henrik Zetterberg scored the lone goal for the Wings, who are now 2-1-1.
The big story on the night, though, was the play of Chara on the PP. Boston’s been criticized heavily over the last few seasons for its poor production with the man advantage, and that narrative looked like it would carry into the 2013-14 season when the B’s went 0-for-3 on the power play in the season opener against Tampa.
Boston also managed seven shots on the power play all told, a pretty solid total. The goal now will be for the B’s to carry that production over to Thursday’s game against Colorado.
Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.
Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.
The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.
“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told NJ.com. “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”
At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.
The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.
Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.
There’s another Raffl in the NHL.
On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.
Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.
“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.
With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.
For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.