Chris Kelly’s goal just 1:18 into overtime seemed to come out of nowhere.
With no pucks finding the back of the net in a scoreless game through regulation, Kelly’s name didn’t jump off the box score as the guy most likely to break the drought. The Capitals are loaded with top-line forwards, and the Bruins have players with more scoring prowess than Kelly. But it was Kelly who ripped a routine slap shot from the wing and past a goaltender who had been perfect to that point, sending the Bruins home with a 1-0 series lead.
“Well, I think it’s fitting,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “He was, without a doubt, our unsung hero this year, for what he’s accomplished — you know, scoring 20 or some goals, something he’d never done before … It was nice to see.”
Kelly saw just enough room to get past Capitals rookie goaltender Braden Holtby from a point on the ice where it is increasingly difficult to score.
“It’s obviously a great feeling,” said Kelly. “It’s always good when you can end things a little early.”
Kelly showed up to the podium for the postgame press conference wearing a chain necklace that looked better suited for pulling a trailer. Kelly explained that the necklace represented a desire not to be the team’s weakest link, and that Bruins players would award the necklace to a new player after every postseason game. Sitting next to Kelly, Bruins goalie Tim Thomas said Kelly was definitely deserving.
“He’s humble,” said Thomas. “He doesn’t see it. I had a good feeling that it was going to go in. And I had a good feeling about the guy who had the puck. I could tell that he had something today. Earlier in the third period when he cut across the net, he’d come closer to scoring than anyone on the team tonight. Also he’s been whizzing shots past me in practice the last few days. He’s got his shot going right now.”