September 24, 2013

Kelly's OT goal caps off fight-filled win over Washington

By Jesse Connolly

With Braden Holtby caught out of position, Chris Kelly buried the game-winner late in overtime for the Bruins. (Photo: Dave Arnold/New England Hockey Journal)

Final: Boston 3, Washington 2 (OT)

Recap: After a scoreless first period, it took Washington until the midway point of the game to fire just their third shot on goal, but that particular bid found twine with rookie Connor Carrick tallying for the Caps. The B's finished the second period with a dominant, 23-6 edge in shots and were able to even things up before the intermission.

Zdeno Chara went to the spot he's frequented during the Bruins' man advantages this preseason -- right in front of the net -- and tipped a shot by Dennis Seidenberg past Braden Holtby to make it 1-1 with 1:38 left in the middle frame.

The B's captain struck again early in the third, but the Capitals were able to tie things up when a Michael Latta shot squeaked through sprawled-out defenders and past Tuukka Rask, with Martin Erat -- perhaps undeservedly -- getting credit for the goal with 14:22 left in regulation. 

In the extra session, a Matt Bartkowski shot ricocheted off a defender and landed on Chris Kelly's stick. Holtby was out of position, and No. 23 fired it home into the open net for the game-winner.

Records: Bruins 4-1-0; Washington 2-0-3

Adam McQuaid clocks Dane Byers during a third-period bout. (Photo: Sharon Bradley/New England Hockey Journal)

Connolly's Commendations: Great game all around for a Bruins defense that continues to be highly involved on the score sheet. Chara potted two goals, Seidenberg had a pair of assists and Bartkowski's now tied for second among all NHLers with five assists during the preseason.

Most important of all, however, was the group's superb ability to keep the Capitals from getting shots on net. Washington finished with just 14 in 63:39 of action, which included five power plays for the visitors.

Kudos to Rask for not falling asleep at any point in the first 30-plus minutes of play. In fact, I don't even think you could be angry if Carrick's goal to open the scoring awoke the Bruins' netminder from a nice nap.

Down the other end of the rink, Holtby was mighty sharp for the Caps and looked to be in midseason form. He yielded three unstoppable goals and finished the night with 35 saves.

Connolly's Critiques: The Bruins dominated every facet of the game, shy of the scoreboard, so it's hard to think of anything worth complaining about -- especially when this is the preseason, after all.

Notes: It's been a fight-filled exhibition season for the National Hockey League and that trend continued Monday at TD Garden. There were a total of five bouts on the night. Johnny Boychuk, Nick Johnson, Milan Lucic, Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller all dropped the gloves for Boston. If "Kelly beat Holtby in overtime" sounded familiar, don't forget that No. 23 buried the winner in the extra session of Game 1 of the first-round series between these two clubs in 2012. It was Holtby's first career playoff start.

Final Thoughts: Boston's lineup boasted more full-fledged NHLers than Washington's, but it was an encouraging showing at both ends of the rink for the Black and Gold, who overcame an early deficit and didn't allow the Capitals to steal a game they seemingly had no business winning.

Next: The Bruins will take on th Jets in Winnipeg on Sept. 26.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ