Stanley Cup Playoffs: How Zdeno Chara impacts Bruins-Capitals series

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Could Zdeno Chara give Capitals a playoff edge vs. Bruins? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Zdeno Chara is set to play in a Boston Bruins first-round playoff series for the 11th time in 14 years. But this time, he’s on the other side.

Chara’s Capitals are locked into a Stanley Cup Playoffs matchup with the Bruins that begins Saturday in Washington. Chara spent the last 14 seasons in Boston, so facing his former team adds another layer of intrigue to this series.

As Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy admitted Monday, Chara’s presence also should help the Capitals in the intelligence department as they scout the B’s.

“He knows (Patrice Bergeron) better than anybody, and (Brad Marchand),” Cassidy told reporters after Monday's 3-2 overtime win over the New York Islanders. “They played together for years. I imagine he will give whatever information is necessary.”

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Chara played more than a decade with Bergeron, Marchand and David Krejci and six seasons with the Bruins’ top goal-scorer, David Pastrnak. After years of battling them in practice as a defenseman, he can give a more thorough scouting report on Boston’s top forwards than probably any player in the NHL.

The familiarity goes both ways, though.

“We’ll break down Z like we would any other player. We know a lot of his tendencies. Maybe that will help us in certain situations,” Cassidy said. “At the end of the day, he’s a competitor. We have a lot of competitors in our room. I’m looking forward to the matchup.”

Chara’s knowledge of several Bruins players seems like more of an edge than Boston knowing the tendencies of one 44-year-old defenseman. But Chara’s presence didn’t seem to impact the B’s in the regular season: Boston went 4-1-2 in seven matchups against the Capitals this season.

Still, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are a different animal that require a much higher level of participation. So the performance of the Bruins’ established veterans against their former longtime teammate might be worth monitoring.

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