Caps Edge Bruins 2-1 In SO In Chara’s Return To Boston

BOSTON (AP) — Jakub Vrana scored the only goal in the shootout and the Washington Capitals beat the Bruins 2-1 Wednesday night in Zdeno Chara’s return to Boston.

Lars Eller also scored for the Capitals, who improved to 7-1-1 in their last nine games. Vitek Vanecek made 18 saves in regulation.

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The 43-year-old Chara, the Bruins’ captain for his 14 seasons with the club, signed a one-year contract as a free agent with the Capitals in the offseason. He helped Boston win the 2011 Stanley Cup, and was a key part of its runner-up teams in 2013 and 2019.

David Pastrnak scored for Boston. Tuukka Rask stopped 27 shots and was denied in his bid for the 300th victory of his career.

Vrana, the Capitals’ second shooter, shifted around Rask and tucked the puck inside the left post.

Vanecek robbed Jake DeBrusk in the final minute of OT, after Rask made a pair of nice stops on redirect chances by Dmitry Orlov and Nicklas Backstrom.

Boston took a 1-0 edge early in the third when Brad Marchand broke down the left wing and sent a cross-ice pass to Pastrnak, who redirected it past Vanecek 1:19 into period.

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For the second straight spring and fifth time in eight seasons, Cruz punctuated his spring debut with a home run on Wednesday, blasting a three-run shot to deep left-center. But Red Sox first baseman Bobby Dalbec homered twice and Boston pounded seven doubles en route to a 14-6 victory over the Twins at Hammond Stadium.

José Berríos pitched two scoreless innings, hitting 95 mph and striking out three hitters in his first outing of the spring.

“I didn’t see any [mph] numbers, but that’s how I feel. I feel strong,” Berríos said. “I was happy about that. I’ve been working hard to be in this position.”

Bullpen candidates Cody Stashak and Ian Hamilton each whiffed two of the three hitters they faced.

But Alex Colomé’s first inning as a Twins pitcher included five hits and four runs, and Boston racked up eight runs in the fourth off righthanders Glenn Sparkman and Chandler Shepherd before an out was made. They recorded only one, in fact; since both pitchers had thrown 20 or more pitches, the inning was declared over without a second or third out.

In addition to Cruz’s rocket, the Twins got home runs from Mitch Garver and outfield candidate Kyle Garlick, his second of the spring.