"I'm excited about tonight," said Bruins forward Chris Kelly
prior to Game 7. "There's no better feeling than playing Game 7."
Kelly was just slightly off -- there's no better feeling than winning
Game 7, and for 9:41 in the third period (when the Habs' P. K. Subban tied the contest at 18:03 of the third period), the former Senator held the would-be game-winning tally for Boston after his stick made contact with Montreal defenseman Roman Hamrlik and Kelly kept skating toward the Canadiens goal.
"It just happened -- I think my stick caught him. It just happened to be going through for the puck," said Kelly. "Obviously, it’s never someone’s intention to get someone with their stick.
"[The puck] just happened to pop out to [Rich] Peverley and it was fortunate.
"It was just a collision," added Kelly. "There’s tons of them in the series."
Hamrlik, who went down and stayed down, took himself out of the play, and Kelly and Peverley turned on the jets.
"I think Rich kind of had the puck and cut to the middle and I drove the lane and I think he dropped it to [Andrew] Ference," said Kelly. "He got a great job getting his shot through and the rebound was just there and I just happened to tap it in."
Those who have watched Kelly carefully since he arrived in Boston on Feb. 15, understand that Kelly didn't "just happen" to do anything. He was exactly where he was supposed to be and fulfilled the hopes of Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli, who acquired Kelly and Peverley at the trade deadline.
Peverley and Kelly, who play on a trio with Michael Ryder, were the Bruins most consistent line in the first round.
"Yeah, I think the pretty goals in the playoffs don’t come off unless you’re Bobby Ryan [Anaheim]," said Kelly. "But I thought we did a good job of getting to the net and getting traffic and...scoring kind of those ugly goals."
Kelly, who had two goals and three assists for five regular season points in 24 games with Boston and now has a 3-3-6 line in seven playoff games, said that he feels his game is coming together.
|Kelly, right, pumps his fist as he is congratulated by teammates Ryder, left, and Peverley. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) |
"Yeah, it’s always nice to contribute offensively," said Kelly. "When I came in here, I didn’t have the greatest start to coming here, but I’ve adjusted and feel more comfortable with my linemates and it’s nice to like I said contribute and help the team win.
"I think we stayed with it," said Kelly of his linemates. "Obviously, there’s times that we wanted to contribute more and it wasn’t happening, but I thought we did a good job staying the course and not getting too frustrated.
"It would have been easy to point the finger at one another, but I think finally we’ve come full circle."
And thanks to Nathan Horton
-- who scored the actual game-winner for Boston in OT -- Kelly and the rest of the Hub of Hockey will roll into Round 2.
"It’s a great feeling to see a guy like that contribute with two huge OT goals," said Kelly. "He works hard every day.
"That line has been producing for us since I got here, and for a lot of games they were the only line producing.
"It was great to see them sum up the series with the game winner," he said.