WASHINGTON, DC --
Even though the physical play during the B's Round 1 matchup with the Washington Capitals seemed to hit a crescendo when the Caps' Nicklas Backstrom crosschecked Bruins right wing Rich Peverley
in the face after Game 3, there's every bit of reason to believe that Game 4 could provide an even more intense coda.
But when asked if it were difficult for the B's to find the line between their characteristic physicality play or focusing too much on finishing their checks, veteran center Chris Kelly
"I think it’s about having that controlled emotion," said Kelly. "Playing on that fine line of being a physical team that makes you a unique team...[instead of] getting reckless and running around and just focusing on being physical and forgetting about the game of hockey.
"At the end of the day that’s what we’re all here to do -- to play the game of hockey -- and we know a style of hockey that makes us successful."
Although Kelly's trio (including Chris, left wing Benoit Pouliot
and right winger Brian Rolston
) have been providing most of the B's offense, the line has flown under the radar in terms of attention and their exploits during the first three games of the series remain a secondary story.
But in many ways, flying under the radar might be why the Kelly line has been so productive and able to play that B's style of hockey.
"Well to a certain extent. I think everybody understands that sometimes your best lines have to play against your best defensive players and vice versa, especially when you don’t get the last change [on the road]," said Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien when asked about his third line's success after Thursday. "Sometimes it becomes a little harder for them and maybe your other lines get that benefit of the doubt.
"We’ve seen that in the past, we had that trio last year with Kelly, Peverley and [Michael] Ryder and [when the opposing team] were focusing on the first two lines, they were doing the damage and when they focused on them, other lines stepped up.
"That’s what you need," continued Julien. "You need depth, you need to make sure scoring goes around. No matter whose scoring in this series, we’ve still scored one more goal than them.
"So, really doesn’t matter who it is at the end of the day, as long as we score."
Clearly the mix of creativity, net front play and simple hard work provided by Pouliot, Kelly and Rolston have given the B's a simple example of a style that works, however Kelly agreed with his coach and wasn't about to take any credit.
Instead the NHL vet pointed out that his line's success has more to do with the B's game as a whole and his line's ability to help provide offense when other lines are having trouble finding the net.
In other words, it's just his trio's turn.
"If you look at the course of the year we’ve had, every line contributed at one point or another," said Kelly, flatly.
However, the B's alternate captain also indicated a simplfied approach might be in order overall.
"[Washington's] played well defensively, we give them credit where credit's due," he explained. "We need to maybe work a little bit harder at getting those ugly goals.
"I think everyone loves to score the nice ones, but I find in the playoffs the ugly ones become more common than the so-called pretty ones.
"I think if you try to focus on going out there and trying to do the process opposed to thinking about the result then you’ll have more success that way," he said.