We have updated our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the NHL’s online services, you agree to these updated documents and to the arbitration of disputes.
Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google

Kessel comes alive at the right time

Wednesday, 05.13.2009 / 12:23 PM / Conference Semifinals: Boston vs. Carolina

By James Murphy - NHL.com Correspondent

"If Phil is in motion all the time, that's when he's going to be effective. He can get around those hits with his speed and then he gets in position to score. He's got so much raw talent and when he is on you see that."
-- Milan Lucic

BOSTON -- Now that the Bruins have forced a Game 7 in their Eastern Conference Semifinals series against Carolina, they will need to see more of the Phil Kessel who showed up in Game 5 and scored two goals.

Kessel entered Game 5 against the 'Canes without a point since a two-assist effort in Game 1 more than a week earlier and hadn't scored a goal since Game 4 of the first round against Montreal. But last Sunday night, Kessel awoke and was flying around the Hurricanes, utilizing his explosive speed.

"If Phil is in motion all the time, that's when he's going to be effective," teammate Milan Lucic said. "He can get around those hits with his speed and then he gets in position to score. He's got so much raw talent and when he is on you see that."

Lucic enjoys playing with Kessel and center Marc Savard and knows that if he just does his job of providing space, Savard will find a streaking Kessel and chances are the Bruins sniper will find the back of the net.

"I just need to go out there and be physical and create space, those guys will do the rest," said the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Lucic, who is riding the left wing on the Bruins' top line with Kessel and Savard. "If I can get the puck to either of them, then they usually find a way to create scoring chances. It's amazing when Phil starts going and flying around."

Forward Michael Ryder always has been impressed with Kessel's skill and saw first-hand as an opponent in the 2008 playoffs what he can do in a playoff series if he gets going.

"Phil is a great skater and when he uses that speed and gets going he's going to get his chances," said Ryder, who played against the Bruins as a member of the Montreal Canadiens in last year's postseason. "He did that (Sunday) night and came up with a couple big goals. Last season, he was one of the main reasons the Bruins came back on us in Montreal. I just remember my teammates having trouble keeping up with him."

Coach Claude Julien pointed to Kessel's first goal in Game 5 as classic Kessel.

"You just have to look at his first goal," Julien said.  "He held onto it, he got into the cycle, made a great pass to Savard in the cycle, and he got himself open, and those are the kinds of things that Phil needs to do. We don't need Phil to be Milan Lucic; we need Phil to be Phil, and if he's quick on his feet like he can be, he's going to win races. 

"He's a skilled player that can make plays, and he's a skilled player that can get open, and he's got the best passer in the League in Savvy to feed him, so he should take advantage of it, and he did (Sunday) and got rewarded with a couple of goals."

Bruins/Hurricanes Playoff Gear Hurricanes Gear Bruins Gear Veteran Mark Recchi who always keeps an eye on his opponents and as many NHL players and prospects as he can, knew what he was getting for a teammate when he was traded to Boston in March.

"He's a game-breaker and you don't find many kids like that around that can change the complexion of a game so quickly," he said. "It's like he's in front of you and then all of a sudden he's gone breaking into the zone, and that's just how fast he is. And he's just a pure goal scorer. To have a guy like that is huge."
Quote of the Day

We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff