Kelly, Peverley know they need to be better

Kelly, Peverley know they need to be better
May 20, 2013, 10:15 pm
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(USA Today Sports Images)

BOSTON – Just as they struggled during the regular season to find their game, their production and some way to really contribute to the Bruins team effort to win hockey games, the third line is again struggling for Boston in the playoffs.

Whether it’s been Jaromir Jagr, Kaspars Daugavins or Tyler Seguin skating with center Chris Kelly, the third line has been hard-pressed to muster any offense while simply trying to keep the opposition from scoring on them. The only Bruins forwards in the minus during the playoffs are third liners are Kelly is a team-worst minus-5 with zero points in nine postseason games, and only eight shots on goal in those nine Stanley Cup playoff games.

Rich Peverley has a goal, but is a minus-3 as well and both Seguin, currently skating on the right wing for the third line, and Jagr are a minus-2 in the early stages of the second round of the playoffs.

“Our fourth line continues to do a good job of fore-checking and sustaining that attack which you’re talking about. Our third line, I’m not saying is an issue, but it’s probably, of the four, the one that you want to see improve the most,” said Claude Julien prior to Sunday afternoon’s Game 2, where they once again put up a goose egg. “I think Rich [Peverley] has been skating a lot better. That line in itself certainly has the ability to give us some scoring opportunities, so hopefully that will come, just like the Bergeron line did.”

Now it’s to the point where the fourth line is getting more ice time in the series against the Rangers, and kicking in with the occasional goal through hard work and tenacity. That’s a nice roadmap for the third line to get back into form, and that’s what they’re trying to do.

“You can always be better,” said Chris Kelly. “We don’t want to complicate things. We’re a pretty simple team. We’ll do anything that we can do to help out. As long as the team is winning, that’s the big thing.”

Clearly it’s about the team’s success in the playoffs, but there’s no arguing the Bruins are a better team when Kelly, Peverley are producing along with whatever mystery man is on the right wing. It’s not all bad, however.

Kelly is winning 65.3 percent of his face-offs, and Peverley is at a smoking hot 68.9 percent wins during playoff draws. Peverley also used his skating speed to draw a couple of Rangers penalties in Game 1, and Seguin was markedly improved in all areas on Sunday afternoon.

So there are certainly some positives aside from simple goals and assists, but it was noticeable that the Kelly line was the only one that couldn’t come through with a score in Boston’s 5-2 win over the Rangers in Game 2. Kelly, Peverley, and Seguin, most likely, will go back to the drawing board on Tuesday night for a sure-to-be difficult Game 3 at Madison Square Garden.

“We’re going to need to be better,” said Peverley. “[The Rangers] came back from down 0-2 to beat Washington in the last playoff round, and you know that they’re going to be better in their own building.”

A greasy, hard-working goal from Kelly or Peverley, or even better if it’s Seguin’s first goal of the playoffs, could go a long way toward helping out the rest of their Black and Gold teammates.