The Washington Times - March 4, 2013, 08:03PM

There are a lot of advantages to Alex Ovechkin switching to right wing. Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates sees that as Ovechkin’s correct side and believes his captain gets more scoring chances from there.

One disadvantage is that Ovechkin won’t be able to avoid Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara on Tuesday night.


“He’s gonna see him, and that’s a fact of life,” coach Adam Oates said. “The guy’s a great player. They play that style. You’ve got to be ready for a hard game.”

The Caps knew all about Chara’s Norris-caliber game and found out more about Dennis Seidenberg’s during last spring’s Eastern Conference quarterfinals. But what makes Tuesday even more of a hard game is that the Caps will be facing the Bruins with Chara and Seidenberg split up.

That means the top line of Matt Hendricks, Mike Ribeiro and Ovechkin and the second line of Eric Fehr, Nicklas Backstrom and Troy Brouwer will have to deal with one or the other most of the time. Even if Oates gets creative with his changes, Andrew Ference and Adam McQuaid are hardly a liability pairing.

But the Bruins’ blue line is build around Chara and Seidenberg.

“You’ve got the big reach and toughness of Chara and you’ve got some speed and some grit with Seideberg,” right wing Troy Brouwer said. “He takes care of his body, he’s a really good skater and he’s never out of position. With those two, it’s tough to try and get behind them and break them down.”

Chara recently has been paired with Johnny Boychuk and Seidenberg with rookie phenom Dougie Hamliton, whom Caps prospect Tom Wilson praised as a “tremendous player.”

The Caps found out about how tremendous Seidenberg was in last spring’s playoffs. Ovechkin hasn’t forgotten a big hit from the Bruins defenseman in Game 1.

“Everyone’s kind of known he’s a been a really, really good player,” Brouwer said. “He kind of gets overshadowed because of Chara. He’s one of those guys where you do kind of overlook him, but he’s a very solid defensive player.”

Defenseman Karl Alzner has an appreciation for Chara and Seidenberg and likes watching his counterparts to pick up different elements for his game.

“Seidenberg is a player that, he’s so strong on the puck, he makes the smart plays. He can play offense and defense,” Alzner said. “And obviously everyone knows about Chara. I think they’re probably pretty frustrating to play against as a forward because I know I’ve been down in the offensive zone once or twice and they’ve just stripped me pretty easily of the puck. Those are players you always want to have on your team.”

Not players you want to see on the other side of the ice. Chara and Seidenberg are a combined plus-14 this season, and they each average over 23 minutes a game. That’s a lot of difficult minutes for the Caps to contend with.

“They have a very good defense,” Oates said. “Our team and the players have to be ready. They’re a physical team. You have to be ready for the contact.”

Ovechkin seems to relish that kind of contact. Judging from the playoff series, he enjoys the back-and-forth, physical battle with Chara.

Of course, strong guys top D in the league, and when you’re having good success when you do something well the teams appreciate it,” he said. “And you know you feel much better.”