The Afternoon Shift – April 22

Chris Kelly's goal on Thursday forced overtime in Boston's eventual 5-4 win./Photo by the Boston Herald

While we applaud the Red Wings for their first-round sweep of the Coyotes, a Griffins alumnus from our old Ottawa Senators days also deserves props for his inspiring performance on Thursday.

Chris Kelly, whose late-season trade to Boston concluded his solid six-year run in Canada’s capital, is one of the biggest reasons that the Bruins have climbed out of a 0-2 hole and evened their series with the Canadiens.

In the first period of Monday’s Game 3, Kelly was hit from behind by Montreal’s Scott Gomez, propelling him face-first into the goal post. After staying down on the ice for several minutes, he remained in the game and eventually sealed Boston’s 4-2 win with an empty-netter.

While an examination by doctors on Wednesday revealed no fractures, Kelly did sustain both a black eye and swollen cheek on the right side of his face, transforming him from quasi-scoring threat to Quasimodo.

Undaunted, he sported a full cage for protection last night and earned his revenge against the Habs, going right back to the goal mouth to tie the game at 4-4 with 6:18 remaining in the third, forcing overtime. Then, just 1:59 into the extra session, he fed Michael Ryder for the game-winner, as Boston reclaimed home-ice advantage heading into Saturday’s Game 5 in Beantown. Click here for Kelly’s post-game interview.

The Bruins would be wise to follow the inspirational lead of Kelly. Not only does he put up his share of points, particularly in crunch time, but he’s already been somewhere Boston hasn’t been since 1990: the Stanley Cup Finals. Kelly appeared in all 20 playoff games for Ottawa in 2007 when it lost the Cup to Anaheim.

Today’s Griffins links:

AHL link:

Alumni news and notes:

Video – NHL alumni goals:

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