Hockey is a game of inches full of heartbreak and heroes.
Chris Kelly has been on both sides of the equation.
Last season was tough on the Bruins center. After scoring a career-high 20 goals in 2011-12 Kelly finished with three in the strike-shortened 2012-13 season. He added two goals in the Stanley Cup finals but it’s the one he missed against the Blackhawks in Game 4 that remains a lasting image of the Bruins’ falling short of winning the Cup.

Sometimes failure is the best motivator.
After last spring’s finals it didn’t take Kelly long to start thinking about this season. He took a week off and then started training again.

He was excited to start with a clean slate and last night in the Bruins’ season-opening 3-1 win over Tampa Bay the 32-year-old got his chance.

It didn’t take Kelly long to get another opportunity to bury the puck. This time he didn’t miss scoring in the first period with a nifty move on the first penalty shot of his career.
The goal helped the Bruins win at the Garden and helped Kelly move on from the ghosts of seasons past.

“Yeah it’s nice” Kelly said of his goal. “You try to remember some things from last year and try to forget some things from last year. But I think you need to go through some down times to enjoy the good times.”

In the first period the B’s had a rash of opportunities on the first Lightning power play. On the third shorthanded shot Kelly was hooked by Mark Barberio and given a one-on-one with the goalie.
While Kelly claimed to have never taken a penalty shot during a game he has been practicing for the moment. It paid off. He made a nice move before beating Tampa Bay goalie Anders Lindback with a backhand at 11:39.

After the game Claude Julien said Kelly who also won 12-of-17 faceoffs was arguably the Bruins’ best player last night.