For Bruins D corps, keeping up with today’s NHL means a lot more free rein in the O-zone — and the risks that come with it

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

For a player entering his 22nd season in the NHL, Zdeno Chara was no worse for wear while serving once again as the anchor of the Bruins’ D corps on Thursday night. 

Sure, his workload was lighter (19:24 of TOI) than in years past, but the 42-year-old defenseman still checked off all of the boxes that have made him one of the premier defensemen in the game for over two decades. 

While most of his 5v5 minutes were set aside to account for the Dallas Stars’ top line of Tyler Seguin (10:16 TOI against Chara), Jamie Benn (8:33)  and Joe Pavelski (8:43), Chara didn’t flinch against the daunting assignment. 

During the time in which Seguin faced off against Chara, Boston managed to equal Dallas in terms of high-danger scoring chances at 2-2, while the Bruins managed to outshoot the Stars, 5-2, during the extended stretch in which Pavelski was out on the ice as the same time as No. 33. 

Most importantly, the forward trio wasn’t able to land a punch against Tuukka Rask when Chara was out patrolling the blue line — as Seguin, Benn and Pavelski were held off the scoreboard in what was eventually a 2-1 victory for the Bruins. 

Even at his age, Chara’s contributions on the defensive end were not all that surprising. 

But down the other end of the sheet? Things were quite different.