In Prague last season Zdeno Chara made the somewhat startling statement that he hoped to play until age 45. Before playing his 1,000th career game last night against the Kings, the Bruins captain reiterated that desire.

"I would love to, yeah," Chara said. "Obviously, it's a question of staying healthy. If I can stay healthy, do I believe I can play until 45? Yeah, I believe so. First I want to play to the end of my contract, see how I feel and go from there."

Chara is the 277th NHLer to reach 1,000 games, the 91st defenseman and the 11th to reach the milestone as a Bruin. Making his night more special was the B's hard-fought 4-2 win.

"Obviously we knew the meaning of this game," Chara said after the victory. "It was a really tough game. Both teams played really hard. A lot of battles, a lot of physicality, big hits. Both goalies made some big saves. I thought we played desperate hockey for the whole game."

If Chara could stay healthy and somehow keep playing to 45, that could mean 10 more seasons — which, for a guy who has missed only 14 games during his six seasons as a Bruin, could be 750 or 800 more games. Gordie Howe's 1,767 games is the NHL record.

"That would be crazy," Chara said with a laugh. "But you know what: I do want to play as long as I can. I just love it. You have to have this passion for it. You can't be looking at it like, 'This is such a hard job, I wish I could be doing something else.' You're living your dream. I have so much passion for this. We are so lucky to be doing it.