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June 19, 2011

by Rich Thompson -

Bruins center Chris Kelly let go of his memory of sitting in the losing locker room following the Stanley Cup finals.

Before leaving the Garden for his duck boat victory tour yesterday morning, Kelly revisited the emotional divide that separates the winners from the losers in the finals.

Kelly played with the Ottawa Senators when they lost to the Anaheim Ducks in the 2007 Stanley Cup finals.

That emotional low was the polar opposite of the elation he felt after the Bruins [team stats]’ 4-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 at Rogers Arena on Wednesday.

“There is no worse feeling than sitting in that locker room and hearing the other team cheer when you came so close,” Kelly said. “(I) obviously didn’t achieve the ultimate goal the first time, and to then be on the ice with that Cup was almost surreal.”

Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference was with the Calgary Flames when they were defeated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2004 finals.

“We wanted to win so bad,” Kelly said of himself and Ference, “because we had been on the other side of that scenario.”

Kelly’s tenure with the Bruins was limited to 24 regular-season games and 25 in the playoffs. He centered the third line with a combination of wingers Rich Peverley, Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder upon arrival. Kelly arrived in a trade from the Senators on Feb. 15, but he has assimilated into the Bruins’ culture.

“It doesn’t feel like I just got here in February; it feels like I’ve been here much longer,” he said. “Just because of how close this group is and each of us wanted to win for the guy next to us.

“It was a real close locker room. That’s why this is going to be a lot of fun and just something I will obviously remember.”

Kelly relished his moment because winning the Stanley Cup was a long, difficult process. The Bruins needed seven games, three overtime goals and two road wins to dispatch the Montreal Canadiens in the first round.

Kelly contributed a goal in Game 2 of the Bruins’ sweep of the Flyers before helping the team outlast the Tampa Bay Lightning in a seven-game series for the Eastern Conference title.

The Bruins captured the only road win in the Stanley Cup finals, taking Game 7 against the Canucks.

“I don’t think we like doing things the easy way,” Kelly said. “That was kind of our motto and even Timmy (Thomas) said that after Game 5 in Vancouver.

“He said, ‘We don’t like doing things the easy way. We’ll come out here and win in Game 7.’

“Everyone in that locker room truly believed that. I think that is what got us three Game 7s and going into overtime in Game 7 in the first round against a tough Montreal team. It shows there is a lot of character in that room.”

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