BOSTON, MA --
As Bruins forward Chris Kelly
sat at the podium late Thursday night, he proudly displayed the new version of the "The Jacket" made so famous by it's place in the B's Stanley Cup run - a length of silver chain, fastened by a lock.
Frankly, it was a look that nobody expected the mild-mannered forward to be sporting after his first overtime goal in the playoffs.
"It’s something, kind of like last year with the jacket, Andrew [Ference] made something that symbolizes a team, a chain," said Kelly, who said the point was to "try not to be that weak link."
"It’s one of those things that you pass out after a game," said Kelly. "It’s one of those things that’s all in good fun. It just started for the playoffs."
In many ways, it feels as if the playoffs have never ended for the Stanley Cup Champions. However, if anyone was going to begin this year title defense with a victory, Claude Julien said it was fitting that man would be Kelly.
"He was, without a doubt, our unsung hero this year," said Julien. "For what he’s accomplished -- scoring 20...goals, something he’d never done before, [and] you know, how he’s handled the players that have been with him this year.
"He hasn’t always had the same wingers all the time, and still, that line’s always been good. We talk about [Patrice Bergeron
] being a good two-way player, I think Kelly’s the same way.
"I mean, he’s producing this year more than ever, and he’s so reliable defensively. So it was nice to see, again, we talked about that line being able to hopefully get some secondary scoring like our third line did last year, and so far, they’re off to a good start."
Julien might not have been surprised to see Kelly's shot beat Washington goalie Braden Holtby (29 saves), but it certainly shocked the veteran center.
"I think I was probably the most surprised in the building," said Kelly. "I think it might have went off the defenseman’s stick a little bit and changed up.
"Goalies are so good now that I think that the days of going down the wing and beating a goalie with a shot or a long pass. I was pleasantly surprised to see it go in."
But that's exactly what happened to give the Bruins a Game 1 victory and a 1-0 lead in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.
"I know I scored in the finals last year, but it was the seventh goal in, I think a -1 game," said Kelly. "Obviously, it’s great to score in the playoffs and even better to score in overtime."