The first time, Zdeno Chara saw Brandon Saad motor past him to feed Michal Handzus for a shorthanded goal. The second time, Chara was on his hands and knees in Tuukka Rask’s crease after a collision with Bryan Bickell, leaving Jonathan Toews to tip home a shot.
The third time saw Chara sliding down the ice on his stomach, unable to prevent a Michael Frolik pass from connecting with Marcus Kruger for another goal. The fourth time … well, it wasn’t Chara’s fault that Dennis Seidenberg allowed Patrick Sharp to slip his check and score a power-play goal. But the fifth time was the last goal of the game: Brent Seabrook, in overtime, as Chara and Toews battled in front of Rask, who had trouble tracking the puck because of it.
Five times, Chara was on the ice for a Blackhawks goal in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.
This just doesn’t happen to Zdeno Chara.
“He's not a guy that we should be afraid of. We should go at him, protect the puck from him, make plays around him and through him,” said Jonathan Toews, one day after the Blackhawks’ 6-5 overtime win in Game 4 to even the series.
So how did the Blachawks finally scale Mount Chara?
Use Their Speed
It’s no secret the Blackhawks have a speed advantage in their matchup against the Boston Bruins. The last team that was able to utilize its speed against the Bruins had them dead-to-rights in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal.
Chicago had room to skate in Game 4, especially entering the offensive zone. They had Chara moving his feet rather than simply swatting every puck away with his Pterodactyl-like wing span while clogging the middle of the ice.
“That's one of the main goals is to get him to move his feet and try to sustain that pressure,” said Brandon Saad.
Watch the Marcus Kruger goal. Michael Frolik never stopped moving his feet, got around Chara and it resulted in a goal.