BOSTON — Chris Kelly scored 20 goals during the regular season but refused to take credit for improving his offensive game.
Even after he scored the overtime game-winner in the Bruins’ 1-0 win against Washington in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Thursday at TD Garden, he was still crediting his linemates and the organization. Whether he likes it or not, however, Kelly was the hero of the pivotal first game of the best-of-seven series.
“Well, I think it’s fitting because to ask, I guess, our coaching staff, 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, [and], you know, how he’s handled the players that have been with him this year,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. “He hasn’t always had the same wingers all the time, and still, that line’s always been good. … 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.”
Brian Rolston and Benoit Pouliot both assisted on the goal that started with a Tim Thomas save on Marcus Johansson and then a Joe Corvo breakout pass off the glass.
For the complete game story, log on to NHL.com.
•Alexander Ovechkin was limited to one shot on goal. Read that again: Alexander Ovechkin was limited to one shot on goal. That was just the 10th time this season he was limited to that few shots. He averaged almost four shot on net per game in the regular season.
Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara were draped on him all night and combined for 10 hits. Ovechkin recorded seven hits. Read more about shutting down Ovechkin in my CBSBoston.com column.
•Thomas made 17 saves for his sixth career playoff shutout. His best save of the night was a stop on Ovechkin with the right pad during a Washington power play in the third period.
“It was a toe save. I know he likes that spot, generally, over there, but he’s been changing it up and going to different spots,” Thomas said. “I didn’t even think about [Alex] Ovechkin until the pass happened. I was focusing on who made the pass, the left-handed guy who made the pass. I was trying to get to my angle to make sure that he couldn’t score. But when I did see the pass released in that direction, I very quickly realized where it was going and who it was going to, so I’d better get over there very fast, and fortunately it hit my toe.”
•Johnny Boychuk returned to the lineup after missing the last two games of the regular season. He logged 17:58 of ice time and paired up with Andrew Ference to match the Nicklas Backstrom, Jason Chimera, Alexander Semin line.
•The Bruins’ power play is back to early-2011-playoffs mode, as it went 0-for-4 with six shots on net.