LOS ANGELES, CA Chris Kelly might never come as close to a Gordie Howe hat trick as he did while potting the game-winning goal in the Bruins 4-2 win over the Kings on Saturday.
Kelly racked up his third fighting major of the season when he took exception to a hit from behind that Trevor Lewis dropped on Bostons all-around two-way center in the first period. Kelly took care of business while dropping Smith once the two combatants agreed to scrap, and it helped spark the Bruins who hadnt responded to the physical tone set by the Kings in the first period.
That was quite alright as Kelly finished off the fight before heading off to the dressing room to fix his shield and helmet while he was supposed to be spending five minutes in the box for fighting.
We battled hard. It wasnt the prettiest two points, but Timmy made the saves and we did what we needed, said Kelly. They were playing hard, finishing their checks and playing the way things should be played.
Lewis asked me afterward if I wanted to go, so I did. It turned out to be a pretty good fight.
Even better than a round of fisticuffs was Kellys play in the second and third period that allowed the Bruins to set things off physically or tilt the scoreboard under their action. Brian Rolston worked the puck through the open ice area and flashed the puck over to Benoit Pouliot near the left post. Pouliot found Kelly cutting to the net and watched his pass bounce off the third line centers skates as he cut toward the front of the net.
The score was reviewed by the NHL War Room in Toronto and deemed a goal. So Kelly is now up to 19 goals on the season with a very good chance at hitting 20, which would give the Bruins six skaters with at least 20 goals this season.
If you look at who was scoring important goals for us last year during the playoffs it wasnt always who you would think. Thats what you need, said Thomas. Especially against Montreal it was guys like Kelly, though hes done that again this year. We need a pretty well-rounded attack.
The only problem with Kelly continuing to climb higher in the offensive stratosphere? The centers price keeps going for when he's an unrestricted free agent after this season is over. All in all, considering how productive Kelly has been, it's not a bad problem to have.