On November 21, 1998, the Capitals suffered a 5-4 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins in a wild and wooly affair at the Fleet Center.
The Bruins got on the board first when Darren Van Impe scored his fourth of theseason on a Boston power play at 2:22 of the first. With Boston on another power play, Dmitri Khristich scored his 10th of the season for the Bruins at 7:30. A little over four minutes later, all hell broke loose. An old-fashioned Pier 6 brawl started at 11:42 and before it was over, all 12 players on the ice were paired off with someone and the ice was littered with gloves, sticks and helmets. Goaltenders Olie Kolzig and Byron Dafoe squared off and grappled with one another near center ice. Best friends off the ice, they tried to give each other surly looks in between bouts of laughter. The other five confrontations were much more serious.
As a result of the donnybrook, all 12 players on the ice were ejected from thegame. The Capitals were forced to do without the services of Kolzig, defensemen Mark Tinordi and Dmirti Mironov and forwards Dale Hunter, Craig Berube and Ken Klee. Boston lost Dafoe, defensemen Don Sweeney and Grant Ledyard and forwards Ken Belanger, Ken Baumgartner and Peter Ferraro. Rick Tabaracci took over in the Washington nets and Robbie Tallas stepped between the pipes for Boston.
Boston’s Jason Allison scored at 15:49 of the first to push the Boston lead to 3-0. The Bruins outshot Washington by a 16-9 margin in the first period.
Washington’s Chris Simon took a feed from James Black and scored his second of the season at 4:53 of the second to draw the Caps within two. Peter Bondra’s seventh of the year was a shorthanded goal at 12:50 and it pulled the Caps to within a goal at 3-2. Boston again held an advantage in shots on goal, 15-10.
At 1:59 of the third, former Capital Anson Carter scored to regain the Bruins’ two-goal margin. Brendan Witt tallied his first goal of the campaign at 8:57 of the third to make it 4-3, Boston. Andrei Nikolishin picked up the lone assist on Witt’s goal. With 5:40 left in the game, Steve Konowalchuk brought the Caps even with his first of the season. Brian Bellows and Joe Reekie picked up helpers on Konowalchuk’s goal. Washington had 13 shots on goal to Boston’s 11 in the third period.
In overtime, each team had three shots on goal. But Boston’s third shot - off the stick of Allison - found the net behind Tabaracci to give the Bruins the victory. The Bruins outshot Washington 45-35 on the evening. The two teams combined for 270 minutes in penalties, with 264 of them coming in the fight-filled first period.
Because of the multiple ejections, several players from both teams were forced to absorb a heavier ice time burden. Sergei Gonchar and Reekie led the Caps with 33:36 and 32:15, respectively. Adam Oates (27:54) and Joe Juneau (27:18) led Caps forwards in ice time. For Boston, Raymond Bourque played an unbelievable 39:20 and Van Impe played 30:41, going minus-three in the process. The Boston forwards were paced by Allison’s 25:04.
Allison earned the number one star designation with a pair of goals, including the game-winner. Khristich took the second star with a goal and two assists. Gonchar had an assist was named the third star.