By the end of Thursday's dramatic 5-4 overtime victory over the Canadiens at the Bell Centre, the Bruins forward could see clearly just how special a game he had just been a part of.
"I guess we're in the business of entertaining," Kelly said. "And I think people got their money's worth tonight. It was back and forth and an exciting game."
Kelly was at the center of much of the excitement, scoring the goal to force overtime late in the third and setting up the game-winner. Not bad for a guy who was back in Boston being examined for a possible facial fracture 24 hours earlier.
Kelly had been driven head first into the post of Montreal's net early in Game 3 by Canadiens forward Scott Gomez. After returning to Boston for tests, Kelly got back to Montreal late Wednesday night with a nasty shiner and a full cage to wear to protect his face from further damage. Most importantly, he also came back with medical clearance to play in Game 4.
"It was pretty good," Kelly said of adjusting to wearing the cage, which he last donned as a youth player when he was 14. "It was a lot better than I thought. It has been a long time since I've worn one."
Kelly might not be giving it up anytime soon. He saw things just fine when he banged in a rebound from the top of the crease to tie the game at 4-4 with 6:18 to play in the third period.
"I think it was just getting the puck to the net and we outnumbered them," Kelly said. "It happened to pop out to me and I just sort of whacked at it and it went 5-hole."
That completed the third rally the Bruins made on the night, as they overcame deficits of 1-0, 3-1 and 4-3.
But it didn't complete the night for Kelly.
"I thought it was a great job rebounding back," Kelly said. "We put ourselves in some tough spots. Timmy [Thomas] made those huge saves when we needed him to, to give us a fighting chance. We got back into it and I thought we played well."
Kelly and linemates Michael Ryder and Rich Peverley played particularly well. They combined for three goals and eight points on the night, with all three factoring in the game-winning strike in overtime. Kelly had the primary assist on that one, sending the puck from the right post over to Ryder in the left slot, where he buried his second of the night to even the series.
"That line was huge for us all night," Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said. "Three big goals, obviously that tying goal by Kells was huge, but that overtime goal was a great play by the three of them."
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