Chara scored his first career shootout goal in his initial attempt, lifting the struggling Boston Bruins to a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
Chara, the ninth Bruins’ shooter in the tiebreaker, skated down the middle and faked a shot before slipping the puck between Rick DiPietro’s pads.
“I thought he was going to let the bomb go,” Boston’s Marc Savard said. “I think everybody did.
“DiPietro had to be closing his eyes thinking he was going to get hit with it.”
Earlier in the game, DiPietro was struck by Chara’s slapshot.
On the winner, Chara lifted his stick momentarily – almost looking to be lining up for a slapshot – before sending a wrist shot past DiPietro.
“When you’re a shooter you go in with a plan,” Chara said. “My plan was to shoot between his legs, and when I saw an opening I took it.”
Many in the building likely recalled Chara’s earlier booming drive.
“He didn’t really bite for it, but he had to be thinking about the shot he took earlier in the game,” Boston goalie Tim Thomas said of DiPietro.
The Islanders had a scare midway into the second when DiPietro was hit by Chara, who won the hardest shot competition at 100.4 miles an hour during the all-star festivities last month. DiPietro was hit near the left shoulder and fell to the ice in pain but stayed in after being checked out by the trainer.
“Good move by Chara,” Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. “It came down to the ninth shooter and he made a good move, and Ricky let it in.”
Marco Sturm had two goals in regulation, and Patrice Bergeron also scored for Boston, which snapped a four-game, home-losing streak and won for just the third time in nine overall.
Miroslav Satan, Viktor Kozlov and Mike Sillinger had the Islanders’ regulation goals. New York, which entered the night three points out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference, lost for the third time in four games but has earned points nine times in 10 contests (5-1-4).
“Chara faked a shot and found the five-hole,” DiPietro said.
Thomas had 31 saves for Boston, and DiPietro finished with 25 shots.
The Bruins tied it 3-3 on Sturm’s second goal of the game, coming on a 5-on-3 advantage with 8:15 left in regulation when he fired a shot inside the right post from the right circle.
New York had grabbed a 3-2 edge on Satan’s power-play goal 3:58 into the third.
The Islanders jumped ahead 1-0 just 3:52 in when Kozlov tipped Chris Campoli’s shot past Thomas.
Boston tied it when Sturm beat DiPietro with a slapshot to the glove side at 7:14.
The Bruins took it on Bergeron’s power-play score midway into the opening period. Twelve seconds after Arron Asham was whistled for hooking, Bergeron got to a loose puck along the left boards and slipped a wrist shot by DiPietro’s body inside the left post. It was just his third goal in 13 games after scoring seven in the previous 13.
Sillinger tied it 2-2 just 54 seconds into the middle period when he put in a rebound of Andy Hilbert’s wraparound shot in the slot.
Notes: Islanders centres Alexei Yashin (Knee) and Shawn Bates (groin) each missed their sixth straight game.