Bruins' defenceman Zdeno Chara has avoided a one-game suspension for his part in a melee in the final few seconds of the Buffalo Sabres' 4-1 win on Friday, the NHL announced Saturday.
Chara was right in the middle of the scrum, which began just as Buffalo was starting to celebrate the victory. The Boston captain was assessed an instigator penalty, a fighting major, and a game misconduct, as 45 penalty minutes were doled out by the referees.
It was the instigator that had the potential to land Chara in hot water, as any instigating penalty in the final five minutes of the game or overtime brings an automatic one-game suspension with it.
But in a release, the NHL said it rescinded the suspension under Rule 47.22, which says, "the suspension shall be served unless, upon review of the incident, the Director of Hockey Operations, at his discretion, deems the incident is not related to the score, previous incidents in the game or prior games, retaliatory in nature, ‘message sending,' etc."
The NHL overturned a similar suspension in the Stanley Cup final last season, when Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin was slapped with an instigator penalty late in a game against Detroit.
Game 6 is on Monday in Boston. The Bruins lead the series 3-2.