Washington Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara is one of the most experienced players in NHL history -- there's very little he hasn't seen in 23 seasons.
However, Saturday night's matchup against his former Boston Bruins teammates in Game 1 of this first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series is a bit of a unique situation.
Sure, Chara played against his former team seven times during the regular season. But the playoffs are a different beast. The intensity and the stakes are as high as they get.
What is Chara's mindset ahead of the series opener?
"It's all about the team. It's nothing personal," Chara told reporters Saturday on a Zoom call. "It's just the way it worked out, and that's the way it is."
Chara facing off against the team he captained for 14 years and won a Stanley Cup with in 2011 is one of the most intriguing storylines entering this series. But for the future Hall of Fame defenseman, it's just another postseason matchup.
“It’s playoff hockey,” Chara said. “I think the teams that are in the playoffs battled hard throughout the whole season to get to the playoffs. The matchups are the matchups, but it’s an exciting part of the year. We all battled hard to get to the playoffs, so now it’s the time."
“It’s another matchup, it’s another playoff year. So, it’s exciting and I’m looking forward to it.”
Chara is projected to play on the Capitals' third pairing alongside Nick Jensen in Game 1. He has been one of Washington's most important penalty killers -- a role he also filled throughout his Boston tenure.
This season has been weird in several ways, but once the puck drops Saturday night, the intensity between these teams will quickly ramp up to a normal playoff level and it'll be just another postseason game for Chara and the Bruins.