Kelly breaks slump, still working on goal celebration

Kelly breaks slump, still working on goal celebration
March 10, 2013, 7:00 pm
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WILMINGTON, MA – Chris Kelly is the modest sort, so goal celebrations aren’t the norm for a third line center normally happy to just play good two-way hockey on a winning team.

Obviously any kind of scoring celebration has been at a minimum this season for Boston’s third line, but the laid back Kelly couldn’t help himself after sniping his second strike of the season in Boston’s Saturday afternoon victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. He executed the rare double reserve fist pump with stick in hand after rifling home a shot from the high slot that turned out to be the middle score in a three-goal outburst over 2:18 of ice time in the first period.

Kelly somewhat sheepishly admitted after Sunday’s practice that “cellys” aren’t really his forte.

That’s more the domain of somebody a little more demonstrative in the Black and Gold like Brad Marchand, who has had plenty to celebrate over the last two months with a team-leading 12 goals this season.

“I guess it was just a reaction. Maybe I should have a better celebration,” said a laughing Kelly. “Marchand just seems to go chirp the other team’s bench whenever he scores. My next goal is No. 100. You guys are acting like I’d never scored a goal before.

“Let’s just say it was nice to leave [the dressing room] feeling good after the game.”

Somehow we don’t see Kelly dropping some choice words on the enemy bench when he does score that 100th career goal, but the mere sight of the third line pivot smiling about it rather than stressing is a welcomed sight for the hockey club. There are clearly elevated expectations after Kelly potted a career-high 20 goals last season and then signed a four-year deal for $12 million this summer.

Maybe, just maybe the rare show of emotion on the ice from Kelly is a sign that things are about to turn around for both him and his line. Then scoring goals can go back to “no big thing” from the defensive-minded pivot.