BOSTON -- It was another fight-filled preseason game on Monday night at the TD Garden, but the Bruins were able to get the last laugh, as Chris Kelly scored the game-winner with 1:21 remaining in overtime, giving the B's a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals.
Kelly won't get one any easier than that, as the puck shot out to him in the slot after a Matt Bartkowski shot from the left point was re-directed. Nobody saw the puck taking that kind of bounce, and Kelly put it into the open net for the win.
Zdeno Chara put the Bruins up 2-1 after he scored his second goal of the game 22 seconds into the third period, and 11 seconds into a 5-on-3 power play.
Simultaneous fights between Nick Johnson and Michal Cajkovski, and Adam McQuaid and Dane Byers led to the 5-on-3 man advantage for Boston. And Chara took advantage right away, blasting one top-right from the top of the right circle.
The Capitals tied it up at 2-2, 6:38 into the third, as Michael Latta skated through the slot and batted down a high shot that ended up just barely getting past Tuukka Rask and over the goal line.
In the second period, too many men on the ice penalties hurt both teams.
The Capitals took a 1-0 lead just 15 seconds into a power play and with 8:44 left in the period. Connor Carrick took a slap shot from the middle of the point that ended up beating a screened Rask and finding the top-left corner of the net. It was just Washington's third shot on goal of the game.
Then, with 1:38 left in the second, Chara tied the game at 1-1 when he re-directed a Dennis Seidenberg shot from the middle point, just 29 seconds into a power play.
The second period ended with the B's out-shooting the Capitals 23-6.
There was no scoring in the first period, but there were two fights. First, Kevan Miller dropped the mitts with Aaron Volpatti, with both players picking up an additional two-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct after they took each others' helmets off before the fight.
Then, Milan Lucic squared off with Joel Rechlicz, who was later ejected in the second period after instigating another fight, this time with Johnny Boychuk.
In the third period, McQuaid fought Byers. At the same time, Johnson was throwing down with Cajkovski, after Cajkovski pushed over McQuaid from behind in open ice, just 11 seconds into the period.
TALKING POINTS, By Joe Haggerty
GOLD STAR: Zdeno Chara had a team-high five shots on net, scored both of Boston’s regulation goals and amassed 22:24 of ice time while making an on-ice statement that he’s ready for the season to begin. Both of Chara’s goals were power play scores – one on a tipped deflection of a Dennis Seidenberg shot from the point, and the second a customary Chara blast from the high point on a 5-on-3 PP formation. It should be fascinating to watch how the Bruins deploy Chara on the man advantage once the season starts as there is plenty of reasons to keep down low near the net. There’s also just one reason to keep him away from the net front: the risk of injury from pucks shot directly in his path from his teammates.
BLACK EYE: Jordan Caron had a couple of shots on net in 12:15 of ice time, and certainly didn’t detract from what linemates Nick Johnson and Ryan Spooner were doing on the ice. Caron had a couple of decent plays involving Spooner throughout the night, but it really does look like other players have passed by the former first round pick in competition for a roster spot. He battles along the boards, he’s willing to put his above-average sized NHL body in front of the net and he’s got a lot of history with the rest of his B’s teammates, but Caron just hasn’t done close to enough to win a spot on the NHL roster. One has to wonder if a change of NHL scenery might do him some good give the dead end he’s run into with the Bruins at 22 years old.
TURNING POINT: Forget about turning point, the biggest conversation point in this game was the fight between Milan Lucic and Joel Rechlicz in the first period. Lucic had just buried Dane Byers with a legal hit near the penalty boxes, and Rechlicz jumped the B’s power forward looking for a scrap. Lucic obliged and it turned into one of the best heavyweight bouts you’ll ever see with the two pugilists throwing one haymaker after another at each other. Lucic caught Rechlicz on the jaw a number of times with right hand bombs, and somehow he never even buckled. By the end both fighters were exhausted from throwing punches, and rightfully so given the titanic tilt that it was.
HONORABLE MENTION: Mikhail Grabovski played in his first game of the preseason for the Washington Capitals, and managed a pair of assists while powering an offense that only managed 14 shots on net through three periods plus a partial overtime session. Grabovski also helped lead the way with three shots on net along with fellow forward Brooks Laich, and somehow pushed a skeleton crew of Capitals players to their fifth overtime session of the preseason in five games.
BY THE NUMBERS: 5 – the number of points for defenseman Matt Bartkowski, who leads the Bruins in points and set up Chris Kelly’s overtime game-winner with a point shot that was deflected in front of the net. Bartkowski has won himself a spot on the Bruins roster with the way he’s played during the preseason.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I was hoping he was going to go down, but [Rechlicz] is a big tough kid. I guess [it was] a great fight. I’m sure you guys enjoyed it.” –Bruins left wing Milan Lucic after his heavyweight bout with Joel Rechlicz during the first period.