BOSTON -- The question going into Wednesday night's Game 1 was, Wade Redden or Dougie Hamilton?
Claude Julien chose Redden. No surprise there. It stays consistent with Julien's approach. He's sat his young talent in favor of crafty vets in postseasons past. No shock that he'd choose to do it again.
Redden's best days are behind him. He spent the last two seasons in the AHL, and was traded from St. Louis to Boston at the deadline for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2013. Because of his one playoff game on Wednesday night, that seventh-round pick turns into a sixth-round pick.
But the Bruins left the TD Garden on Wednesday feeling good about their decision to play Redden over Hamilton.
Redden helped the Bruins to a 4-1 win in their playoff opener, finishing with a goal and an assist.
It was the timing of those two points that was most important.
With Toronto taking an early 1-0 lead, 1:54 into the game, the Bruins needed some sort of spark. They got it with 3:40 left in the first period, as Redden let go a shot from the top of the left circle with nobody between him and Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer.
It wasn't a snipe, by any means, but it did end up in the back of the net, as Reimer somehow couldn't control the low shot that found its way in between his glove and left pad to tie the game at 1-1.
Redden wasn't done there. Minutes later, as James Van Riemsdyk rang the cross bar with a shot, Redden dropped in late on the Bruins rush and took a drop pass at the right point from David Krejci. Redden stepped up and let a high snap shot go, that was batted down by Nathan Horton and past Reimer to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead with just 11.7 seconds left in the first period, and seven seconds left on a Bruins power play.
"I was looking to get a shot on net," said Redden after the win. "Trying to go up with it, but [Horton] was right in a good spot and got a good stick on it. So that was a big goal, too.
"That was such a turn of events," added Redden. "For us to get that one was huge, going into the second. And we didn't really let off the gas, I don't think, a whole lot. We kept going at them, and got a few more big ones."
The B's were able to deliver the knockout blows with goals from Krejci and Johnny Boychuk in the second period. But Redden's contributions were all they really needed to take a 1-0 series lead.
"I was really happy for him tonight," said Julien. "He's a player that's gone through some rough times. And what we tried to do when he came here is make him feel welcome, make him feel appreciated, and give him some confidence that way. So far, it's paying dividends."
Redden's performance isn't going to make Julien want to put Hamilton back in the lineup fro Game 2. And for a veteran who hasn't been a part of playoff hockey since 2009, he's trying to make the most of the playing time he currently has.
"It's been a long road," said Redden after the win. "A lot of uncertainties. But I kept working, and kept believing, I guess. It's great to be here now and have the chance. And I'm going to try to make the most of it.
"The coaches and the team here knew what I could do, and who I am. So I just came in and worked hard to just get the chance. That's really what you look for. And things have gone pretty decent. They believe that I can get the job done for them. That's a big part of it."
Julien believed in Redden more than Hamilton for Game 1.
And the coach was right. It paid off.