BOSTON - While it wasn’t clear simply by watching him play the past few games, but Chris Kelly was a little banged up, coach Claude Julien revealed after the Bruins' 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.
Kelly lost 7 of 10 face-offs in the shootout defeat and was pulled off a number of draws in favor of Swedish linemate Carl Soderberg, a natural center playing left on the B’s third line.
Soderberg won 6 of 8 draws, and Julien indicated it was because Kelly “isn’t 100 percent” despite his ability to continue centering the third line in all other hockey situations.
“One of [reasons for Soderberg’s face-offs] is that I think [Chris Kelly] isn’t 100 percent to take face-offs. It’s nothing major but he’s been – the last couple of games have been a bit of a struggle,” said Claude Julien. “So Carl [Söderberg]’s gone out there in those kinds of situations. But in our own [defensive] end I kept putting another guy out there for [face-offs].
“[Soderberg] is very capable of taking face-offs; he’s played center for a long time. He’s always part of that group that works on face-offs on game day, so we’re going to keep him going in that area…so that if the first centerman gets kicked out, we know we’ve got another one there.”
There was no word from Kelly on exactly what was bothering him, but perhaps it’s part of the reason he has just two points in his past seven games – including the assist on Soderberg’s goal in the second period on Thursday night