In the tale of the Bruins’ 2011 run to the Stanley Cup championship, center Chris Kelly will always play a Zorr0-like role.
After all, no other Boston player threw on a mask and produced such dramatic heroics with his face partially hidden.
The full cage Kelly had to wear after Montreal’s Scott Gomez pushed the Bruins pivot into the goal post during Game 3 of the first-round Boston-Canadiens playoff series will always invoke great memories, as Kelly finished that series with 3-3-6 totals over the final five games of the seven-game Bruins victory.
After a sour regular-season stint with the Bruins after his trade from Ottawa, you couldn’t mask Boston’s delight with Kelly’s play in the postseason.
Regular season: (with Bruins) 24 GP, 2-3-5, minus 1
Playoffs: 25 GP, 5-8-13, plus-11
Contract status: signed through 2011-12 at a cap hit of $2.125 million
Best regular-season moment: Kelly admittedly had a tough time adjusting to life with the Bruins after such a long time with Ottawa. One of his regular-season bright spots was an assist he recorded in the Bruins’ dramatic 2-1 win over Tampa Bay March 3. In his TD Garden debut, Kelly won a battle in the corner and set up Steven Kampfer’s game-tying goal in the second period. He finished the night plus-1.
Best playoff moment: With that face mask protecting his facial injury, Kelly was on fire in Game 4 against Montreal with the game-tying goal with 6:18 left in regulation plus two assists (including a helper on Michael Ryder’s overtime game-winner). Gomez had to regret injuring and awakening Kelly.
Worst moment: It took Kelly 21 games to score his first goal with the Bruins. Although his game is judged on offense, he was getting the type of minutes that should produce a little punch. March 19 in Toronto was a particularly frustrating night. He was minus-2, lost more than 50 percent of his faceoffs and missed a couple of in-tight scoring chances among his three shots on goal.
Regular-season grade: C-plus
Playoff grade: B-plus. He quieted down offensively over the last two rounds and lost more than 52 percent of his draws.
Carnac predicts … Kelly will settle in as a key performer in Boston’s bottom six next season, but might see his even-strength ice time decline depending on the development of Tyler Seguin and Jordan Caron.