April 12, 2012

Kelly the hero as Bruins take Game 1 against Caps in OT

By Jesse Connolly

Chris Kelly's goal 1:18 into overtime gave the Bruins a 1-0 series lead over Washington. (Dave Arnold Photography)

Final: Boston 1, Washington 0 (OT)

Recap: After a fesity, scoreless first period, the Bruins absolutely took over in the middle frame, out-shooting the Capitals by an absurd 17-2 margin. The only problem? None of them got by Braden Holtby.

Momentum shifted in the third, during which Washington kept Boston's offense in check and had a number of high-quality chances on Tim Thomas. No. 30 stood tall and bailed out his teammates.

It took just 1:18 into overtime to find a winner, as Chris Kelly finally opened the scoring more than 61 minutes into the contest.

Series: Boston leads 1-0

Key Play of the Game: In a game filled with failed scoring chance after failed scoring chance, we might as well point to the lone successful one. Kelly crossed over the blue line and absolutely labeled one for the top corner. It was both an elating experience and a relieving one for the TD Garden faithful.

Connolly's Commendations: After two pretty ghost-like periods, the Kelly line had Boston's best chance in the third period (via No. 23, of course) and came through when it mattered most. As the only players to pick up points, we'll give Kelly, Brian Rolston and Benoit Pouliot some obligatory kudos.

Straying from the usual routine, Braden Holtby probably deserved First Star of the game for his performance. The widely-unknown rookie was simply superb and kept his team -- which had just seven shots through 40 minutes -- in it right until the very end.

Down the other end of the ice, Thomas had an easy go of it in the first two periods, but a third-period onslaught required top-notch netminding and clutch saves in order for the Bruins to have a chance to win it. The reigning Conn Smythe winner gave them just that.

Connolly's Critiques: Joe Corvo came dangerously close to costing the B's on a number of occasions. The most memorable moment came in overtime. Just before Kelly's goal, Corvo made the mistake of trying to pinch in and saw his man carry the puck up the ice. Thankfully his partner bailed him out.

David Krejci is renown for raising his game up to another level in the playoffs. Looks like he went in the opposite direction in Game 1. His line was offsides ad nauseum, he committed two penalties and he didn't put a puck on net. Rough night for No. 46.

Notes: The Bruins improved to 2-3 in playoff openers under Claude Julien. Patrice Bergeron won 18-of-25 (72%) faceoffs on the night.

Next: The B's and Caps will square off again on Saturday at 3 o'clock at TD Garden.