Kelly emerging as top weapon

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Kelly emerging as top weapon

BOSTON -- On a team with the reigning Conn Smyth Trophy winner, a five-time All-Star captain, and one of the most touted young players in hockey, Chris Kelly doesnt always stand out as one of the Boston Bruins' top weapons.

But after scoring two goals in the second period of the Bs 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on
Saturday night, it was no secret who had the hot hand.

Kelly continues to have a real good year for us, head coach Claude Julien said after the
game. Hes one of those guys that flies under the radar most times and theres always bigger names that get mentioned ahead of him, but hes been probably one of our most consistent forwards this year.

And thats something thats not necessarily thought of as his pedigree, but at the same time hes one of those guys that is contributing so well for us and thats giving our team a lot more depth with scoring.

Down 2-1, Chris Kelly scored a shorthanded goal from Rich Peverley to tie the game at two
apiece. He followed up with his second goal of the game from Benoit Pouliot and (once again)
Peverley nine minutes later.

Kelly recently joked about his role as a defensive forward and now he is showcasing his skills on the offensive end. He has recorded multi-goal games in two of his last five contests and ranks second on the team in goal scored.

That success isnt changing his humble approach to the game, though.

I just happened to be kind of right place, right time, Kelly said. Especially that first one. Rich, like I said, hes probably one of the best skaters in the league and he takes the puck to the net like a lot of guys dont. I just happened to be rewarded with that one, and it was a great pass by Benny on the second one.

But ask his teammates and they are not shy about speaking to his performance.

Kells, you know what? Hes been great, Pouliot said with a smile. Hes been like this all year long so far and its a matter of just keeping that going. The way hes going, I think hes not going to stop. Hes playing well both ends of the ice, which is nice for us. Hes great down low, hes going to support every time.

With nine goals under his belt this season, Kelly has proven to be a quiet weapon so far. Dont expect that to change, either. Hell let his game do the talking.

When asked how many goals it will take for him to develop a goal scorers ego, he responded, I dont know, maybe ten. Next question.

Backes: Bruins were ‘wounded’ after ugly Detroit loss

Backes: Bruins were ‘wounded’ after ugly Detroit loss

BRIGHTON, Mass – It certainly sounded like there were some things that made the Wednesday night loss in Detroit a little different for the Bruins.

The Bruins media corps conducted postgame interviews in the hallway rather than in the visiting dressing room after what must have been a combustible atmosphere immediately following the shootout defeat. 

There was also evidence of anger in the visitor’s dressing room at Joe Louis Arena, according to reports, with a door off its hinges when the media was able to get a look inside the dressing room area.

David Backes confirmed something was different about the loss after blowing a pair of three-goal leads, and failing to follow up their dreadful no-show vs. the Islanders with a winning performance against another bad team in Detroit. The B’s forward said the plane ride home from Detroit was solemn and quiet, and that it was clear the Bruins team was “wounded” after a crushing loss.

“Both [losses] can be great lessons if we learn from it, and neither was very enjoyable. That was probably the quietest I think our guys were all year on that plane ride home from Detroit,” said Backes. “To me, that’s a great sign that it hit us in the heart, and it hit us where it really mattered. We’re thinking about how we can turn the tide and thinking about we can be victorious the next time out.

“We had the lead, and in a lot of instances you’re expecting, as you should, to come out of there with two points. We’re at the time in the season where wins need to be garnered and taken home.

“There were a lot of aspects where we should have grabbed the game back. When you feel like you’ve had a lot of opportunities to take the game and you don’t do it, it’s not a good feeling. I was reflecting on that during a very quiet team plane ride back from Detroit, and it seemed pretty clear that the whole team was feeling wounded. I think it’s a good sign that guys were feeling that way, and that means they’re going to do everything in their power to not have that feeling again.”

The words are encouraging from a 32-year-old natural leader in Backes, who has seen good times and bad as captain of the St. Louis Blues in his 10-year NHL career. But the proof is ultimately on the ice where the Bruins have games against the Blackhawks and Penguins coming up and face some very stiff tests coming off a couple of losses against the worst teams in the East that exposed Black and Gold fragility at this point in the season. 


 

After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins, looking for a spark after terrible, back-to-back losses to the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings, are hoping the return of Matt Beleskey from a knee injury can help provide the inspiration. 

The blue-collar left winger has missed the past 23 games with a torn MCL in his right knee suffered in early December against the Buffalo Sabres, but now he’s easing back into the lineup on the fourth line in Friday night’s showdown with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Beleskey was skating with Dominic Moore and Austin Czarnik on the fourth line at morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena and should be expected to throw a few hard hits and play with some intensity in his return.

“I’m ready to go and excited to get back out there,” said Beleskey, who has been skating with the team for roughly a week after giving the knee sufficient time to heal. “I’ve just got to keep it simple and do what I do well: Be hard on pucks, take the body and just try and find your groove. You don’t want to expect too much in your first game back, but you just want to be able to contribute.

“’I’ve been saving [the pent-up energy] for a while, so I’m ready to get back out there and hopefully provide a spark for us.”

The Beleskey return also provides the player with a bit of a reset button after a slow start to the season that saw him with two goals and five points along with a minus-6 rating in 24 games played for the Black and Gold prior to his injury. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairs against the Blackhawks based on morning skate today:

Marchand-Bergeron-Vatrano

Schaller-Krejci-Pastrnak

Spooner-Nash-Backes/Hayes

Beleskey/Blidh-Moore-Czarnik

 

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Morrow-Liles

 

Rask