The Boston Bruins saw a familiar face in the post-series handshake line after eliminating the Washington Capitals from the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Sunday night.
Zdeno Chara's first season with the Capitals after spending the last 14 with the Bruins as their captain did not end how the veteran defenseman would have hoped.
The Capitals lost the last four games of the series, including a 3-1 defeat in Game 5 at home that ended their 2020-21 season.
Several Bruins had what looked like emotional embraces with Chara in the handshake line. These reactions were expected because Chara's leadership on and off the ice had a tremendous impact on many of Boston's players, and that list includes David Pastrnak.
“Zdeno is a guy who helped me grow up as a person, and especially (showed me) how to be a pro,” Pastrnak said in his postgame Zoom call with reporters.
"It was a little emotional, but I can’t wait to catch up and I hope to see him back home at the end of this. The emotions were high and I can’t thank him enough.”
Here is the exchange between Pastrnak and Chara during the handshake line:
Pastrnak is one of the main reasons why the Bruins are moving on to the second round. He scored in each of the final two games of the series and led the B's with six points overall, including a highlight-reel goal Sunday night that showed off his elite offensive skill.
Round 1 was an emotional series for the Bruins, and Chara's presence definitely played a huge part in that. Now that it's over in just five games, Pastrnak and the rest of the B's will get some valuable rest to recharge both physically and mentally before beginning the next round.