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Joke’s gotten old, but as Chris Kelly’s production grows, so too does the legend of the cage 05.02.11 at 11:51 pm ET
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PHILADELPHIA — Chris Kelly hears it every day (sometimes more than once), but as long as he continues to play the way he has, he’ll keep hearing it. His full cage has magical powers.

Bruins fans know two Chris Kellys. There’s the one who had five points in 24 regular-season games with the Bruins after being acquired via trade in Feburary, and there’s the one with the cage. Given that the latter has six points in six games since having to wear his full cage thanks to a Game 3 shove from Scott Gomez, people prefer that one.

Yet the running joke with media members that Kelly will have to keep the cage even when his face, which hit goal-post after sliding from the play with Gomez, fully heals, is getting old for the third-line center, who has often played along with the joke.

Though he spoke about the cage Monday morning, he was asked about it once again after scoring the Bruins’ first goal in their 3-2 overtime victory in Game 2. His reaction?

“You guys are taking that cage and running with it, eh?” he asked a group of laughing reporters.

“The cage will come off when I’m suggested to take it off, regardless of how things keep going here. That will be my final statement on the cage,” he added with a grin.

Not if he keeps it up. That second Kelly has been too big for the Bruins.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Chris Kelly,
David Krejci wins it for Bruins in OT at 10:42 pm ET
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PHILADELPHIA — It took some extra time and some extra nail-biting, but the Bruins grabbed a 2-0 series lead over the Flyers in the Eastern Conference semifinals Monday thanks to a 3-2 overtime victory. David Krejci scored the game-winner at 14:00 of the first overtime period. It was Krejci’s third goal the last two games, and the Bruins’ fourth overtime victory this postseason.

The Flyers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the game’s first 10 minutes thanks to a pair of goals from James van Riemsdyk. The 21-year old beat Tim Thomas 29 seconds into the contest to give the Flyers the lead, and he followed it at 9:31 with a power play goal.

The B’s would come roaring back, as Chris Kelly put a puck past Brian Boucher with traffic in front of the net at 12:50, with Brad Marchand scoring 1:25 later. The teams played to a scoreless second period, though Boucher would leave with an apparent hand injury after from a Johnny Boychuk slap shot. Boucher was replaced by Sergei Bobrovsky for the remainder of the period, but would return in the third and play the rest of the game.

Thomas made 42 saves in regulation, while Boucher stopped 28. Bobrovsky saved all six shots he saw.

The teams will now head to Boston, where they will play Games 3 and 4 at TD Garden on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- The Bruins have trailed by multiple goals on the road twice this postseason, and have come back to tie it in both instances. The B’s trailed by a pair in the second period of Game 4 of the quarterfinals vs. the Canadiens and went on to win the game in overtime, and once they got going, they needed less than three minutes to come back from the Flyers’ 2-0 lead in the first period.

- This is some start to the series for Marchand. After totaling an impressive five points in the Montreal series, the rookie has four points, including three goals, in the first two contests of the quarterfinals. His goal on Monday was a big one, as his snipe on a wrist shot in the first period tied the game at two. He did have one of the occasional moments that comes with his play when he took a cross-checking penalty 3:21 into the third period.

- Chris Kelly can say he hates his cage all he wants, but the fact of the matter is that he’s had six points in six games since first donning in in Game 4 of the quarterfinals vs. the Canadiens. It’s either a good-luck charm or perhaps there’s far more to Kelly than was initially seen when the B’s traded for him in February.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- Adam McQuaid left the game in the first period and did not return. The rookie defenseman went to hit Mike Richards in the Boston zone, but it seem his stick hit Richards’ skate, causing him to trip over it and go head-first into the boards. He was taken to Jefferson Hospital for evaluation. If he is unable to play in Game 3, you can expect Shane Hnidy ‘€” unless Steve Kampfer is ready to return.

- The Flyers really applied the pressure in the third period, with 22 shots begin fired on Tim Thomas. Luckily for the Bruins, their netminder was up for the challenge and shut down many serious bids from Philadelphia. The B’s had seven shots in the third period.

- JVR has been a thorn in Boston’s side, and there’s no question about it. The 21-year-old New Jersey native has scored three goals in the first two games of the series, even after Thomas stoned him on a 2-on-1 with Nikolay Zherdev in Game 1. The UNH product has now scored in four straight games, and three straight playoff games against the Bruins. He had the goal late in the first period of Game 7 against the B’s that started the Flyers’ comeback.

The flashy play from van Riemsdyk wasn’t limited to just his scoring. He had a boat-load of opportunities for the Flyers Monday on a night in which he was clearly the best player on the ice. Among his chances was a breakaway in which he missed the net with Dennis Seidenberg giving chase.

- Speaking of defensemen, Zdeno Chara most definitely gave Danny Briere a little extra something in front of the Bruins’ bench with 2:39 remaining in the game, going off for roughing and giving the Flyers a big power play at the wrong time.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Brad Marchand, Brian Boucher, Chris Kelly
(Not) very superstitious: Chris Kelly just wants to ditch the cage at 12:42 pm ET
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PHILADELPHIA — Bruins forward Chris Kelly is still sporting the full cage, and he’s itching to get rid of it. Kelly has had to wear the cage since Game 4 of the first round, when he slid head-first into the post in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Canadiens. Though he’s feeling better, he’s still proceeding with caution.

“The face is fine,” he said Monday. “I’m not sure how long, but obviously I’ll go on what the trainer suggests and kind of go forward from there.”

As for when the cage will come on, Kelly just hopes it’s as soon as possible. He had joked in Montreal that if he played well with it, he might keep it on as a signature piece of equipment, a la Richard Hamilton with the Detroit Pistons. Coincidentally or not, Kelly has five points in five games since he started wearing the cage, after totaling one in the first three playoff games prior. Monday, he corrected the record, noting that even if he struggles without the cage, that he’ll just “deal with it.” Once the mask comes off, he hopes it will be off for good.

“I’m not a superstitious person,” he said with a smile. “Not by that extreme.”

It’s hard to miss Kelly when he’s on the ice given the cage, something he says he hasn’t worn since he was 14 years old. It could make him a target for chirping, but if Flyers players are saying things, he isn’t hearing them.

“Not that I’ve heard of,” he said when asked if players have been poking fun at him. “Maybe I don’t hear as much with the cage on. Maybe they are chirping. I don’t know.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Chris Kelly, Richard Hamilton,
Hard for Bruins to get ahead of themselves considering how close it’s been 04.25.11 at 1:00 pm ET
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One team won two games in a row. Then the other rattled off three straight. For series that has seen such stretches of wins, it’s quite surprising that neither run has exactly featured dominance. It’s been close the whole way.

Looking at the Bruins/Canadiens Eastern Conference quarterfinals series, neither team has necessarily outperformed one another to the point of it being noteworthy. Both teams have scored 12 goals in the series, and neither has won by more than two goals (something that’s only occurred twice). The Bruins, who hold a 3-2 series lead, have a chance to close it out Tuesday, and it’s just how close it’s been that has let them keep the right perspective.

“The last two games have been in overtime and could have gone either way, right? It could have been a totally different series,” Gregory Campbell said of the Bruins’ victories in Games 4 and 5. “Even the first three games were tight as well. We had a lot of chances in the first two games, and in Game 3, they had the lead on us.”

Given their awareness of just how close it’s been, there is no chatter of desired second-round opponents. The B’s know that if they let up even the tiniest bit, the Habs can put their backs to the wall.

“It hasn’t been the case, where you look at other series, and there’s been some games where a team has dominated the other team. That’s not been the case in this series,” Chris Kelly said. “Every game’s been close, and a hard-fought battle right to the end of the game. We don’t expect anything different tomorrow night, and I don’t think they would either.”

With all that having been said, there’s obviously the added factor of desperation. The Habs are playing for their playoff lives, but the Bruins are also taking the must-win approach. That can be a good thing and a bad thing, depending on the way you approach it.

“You don’t want to ever categorize a game where it kind of takes you off your game and makes us tense. You feel everything’s got to be done in the first period and think, ‘we have to get the first goal,’” Campbell said. “I mean, We have to play our game. We have to play like we’ve been playing the last three games. That has included being desperate, that’s included making plays, getting a lot of chances and scoring goals. That’s what we’re going to do tomorrow night.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Chris Kelly, Gregory Campbell,
Bruins Game 5 Live Blog: B’s, Habs head to overtime 04.23.11 at 6:29 pm ET
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Join DJ Bean, Mike Petraglia and others at the TD Garden for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

<a href=”http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=544866eb6c” mce_href=”http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=544866eb6c” >WEEI.com Bruins Game 5 Live Blog</a>

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Brad Marchand, Canadiens, Carey Price
Michael Ryder proves Claude Julien right, plays hero in pivotal win over Canadiens 04.22.11 at 12:09 am ET
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MONTREAL — To say that Michael Ryder has been the whipping boy of Bruins fans is an understatement. The $4 million man was far from that for too long after the Bruins’€™ Feb. 9 win over the Canadiens. The free-agent-to-be totaled just two goals over his final 25 games, and was even a healthy scratch three times. 

Since the playoffs began, fans and some media members have lobbied for Ryder to watch them from the press box in order to make room for Tyler Seguin in the lineup. 

On Thursday, Ryder showed that Claude Julien‘€™s decision to stick with him was the right one, ending his lengthy disappearing act with a pair of goals in Game 5 against the Canadiens, including the game-winner in overtime. Julien has coached Ryder everywhere from juniors to the AHL to Montreal to Boston, so it was only fitting that Ryder prove Julien right at Bell Centre.

‘€œI’€™ve been with him for a while,’€ Ryder said of Julien. ‘€œJust for him to give me the ice time and give me the confidence, for me, it just gives me that extra boost to show people that I can still play and still got it.’€

Ryder’€™s big night began when he tied the game at one in the second period, beating Habs netminder Carey Price with a wrist shot after taking a pass from Tomas Kaberle. From there, the weight was finally off the struggling winger’€™s shoulders. 

‘€œYou always get a little frustrated when you don’€™t score and you don’€™t get that many opportunities, but it was definitely a confidence boost,’€ Ryder said. ‘€œHopefully now our line keeps generating stuff, helping to do whatever we can to help this team.’€

He would go on to assist Chris Kelly‘€™s game-tying goal at 13:42 of the third period, which marked the third time in the game that the B’€™s came back to tie it up. They actually never led in the game until Ryder beat Price for the game-winner just 119 seconds into overtime. 

‘€œI’€™m happy for Rydes,’€ Shawn Thornton said of the winger. ‘€œA couple of guys talked about it before, he usually plays pretty well in this building,’€ Shawn Thornton said of the former Canadien. ‘€œI’€™m happy his hard work paid off. Maybe some people in Boston will lay off him now. He’€™s a good guy.’€ 

Read More: Carey Price, Chris Kelly, Claude Julien, Michael Ryder
Chris Kelly will play Game 4 wearing cage 04.21.11 at 12:55 pm ET
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MONTREAL — Bruins center Chris Kelly will be in the lineup for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals after being cleared by team doctors. Kelly, who returned to Boston to be examined following a hit into Carey Price’s goal on Monday, wore a cage in morning skate and will do so Thursday night. He said there was no fracture after seeing the doctors.

“I’m good to play tonight,” Kelly said afterwards. “I went back to see our doctors in Boston and they gave me the green light and said everything is great and to just go out and have fun.”

Coach Claude Julien confirmed that Kelly would play, saying the third-line center is “good to go” and that “he’s going to be in the lineup tonight.”

Kelly was shoved by Habs forward Scott Gomez while the Bruins were on a 3-on-1 in the first period. The B’s center said he took no issue with the hit, which caused him to slide head-first into the post and left him with a shiner below his right eye.

“I know Gomez. I played against him for a lot of years,” Kelly said. “He’s a good, honest player and works hard. I don’t think it was deliberate by any means.”

As for wearing a cage for the first time since he was 14 years old, Kelly said that his comfort with it is “much better” than he expected it to be. Kelly even joked that if he were to play well with it, he could keep it on a la Richard Hamilton with the Detroit Pistons, who kept a clear mask on as his signature look in the 2003-04 season.

“He kept it on,” Kelly joked. “Who knows?”

As for any lineup changes, it appears there won’t be any. Mark Recchi was the only Bruin to not take the ice for the morning skate, though it’s likely the veteran was simply given the morning off. Rookie Tyler Seguin stayed out on the ice with the scratches following the skate.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Chris Kelly, Mark Recchi, Rip Hamilton
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