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Kelly goal makes Bruins slap happy; Boston edge Caps in OT; Rangers roll in opener

BOSTON -- Chris Kelly's newest piece of jewelry is a thick, padlocked chain that he wore around his neck after scoring the game-winning goal in Boston's playoff opener on Thursday night.

The message: Try not to be the weak link.

"He wasn't," Bruins goalie Tim Thomas said after Kelly's goal on a long slap shot 1:18 into overtime gave the defending Stanley Cup champions a 1-0 victory over the Washington Capitals in Game One of their first-round playoff series.

"I had a good feeling that it was going to go in, and I had a good feeling about the guy who had the puck," said Thomas, the reigning Vezina and Conn Smythe Trophy-winner. "I could tell he had something [Thursday]. He'd been winging a few past me in practice the past few days."

Thomas stopped all 17 shots he faced for Boston to earn his sixth career playoff shutout -- four of them on Boston's 2011 championship run. But he was matched for three periods by Capitals goalie Braden Holtby, a third-stringer making his playoff debut because of injuries to Tomas Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth.

Holtby made 29 saves for the Capitals, and he was still perfect when Thomas turned back Marcus Johansson with a toe save that started the Bruins on the break. Brian Rolston dropped it for Benoit Pouliot to clear the zone, and he pushed it up to Kelly.

At the top of the left playoff circle, Kelly uncorked a slapper that sailed over Holtby's glove for the game-winner. That earned Kelly the necklace that has taken the place of last year's good luck charm, a tattered windbreaker that the Bruins handed out to the star of the game during their run to the franchise's first NHL title since 1972.

"It's always nice to end it fairly early," said Kelly, who thought the shot deflected off a defenseman's stick. "Goalies are so good now I think the days of going down the wing and beating a goalie are long gone."


New York comes on strong

NEW YORK -- Marian Gaborik and Brian Boyle scored minutes apart in the second period to break open a tight game, and the top-seeded New York Rangers opened their first-round Eastern Conference series with a 4-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

The Rangers, the No. 1 seed in the East for the first time since they won the Stanley Cup in 1994, shook off their 1-2-1 regular-season mark against the Senators and easily dispatched them in Game One.

Ryan Callahan scored in the first period, Gaborik and Boyle pushed the lead to 3-0, and Brad Richards added a goal in the third for the Rangers. New York will host the No. 8 Senators again Saturday night before the best-of-seven series shifts to Ottawa for Games Three and Four.

"That is the way we have to play to win," Callahan said. "We felt like we've been playing playoff hockey right through the season.

"It's still a long series left. Taking Game One doesn't mean much."

Henrik Lundqvist finished with 30 saves for New York.


Sharks win in second OT

ST. LOUIS -- Martin Havlat scored his second goal of the game 3:34 into the second overtime, giving the San Jose Sharks a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game One of their playoff series.

Andrew Desjardins tied it for San Jose with 5:16 left in regulation, banging in a one-timer from the slot from Tommy Wingels, and Dan Boyle had two assists. Antti Niemmi made 40 saves.

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