Despite playing without Zdeno Chara
and Gregory Campbell
on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Bruins extended their winning streak to three and tied the first place Philadelphia Flyers with 41 points in the Eastern Conference.
Although losing "Big Zee" and "Soupy" leaves a big hole in the lineup, center Chris Kelly
and his teammates are helping to fill the void.
Kelly notched his 200th career point in last night's 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators – a goal late in the second period that snapped a 1-1 tie.
"Zee told me [about reaching 200] after the game -- I didn't know that -- that's a nice milestone," Kelly said. "Bounces are going [my way] right now and obviously my linemates have a lot to do with that.
"They're playing well and we're clicking and hopefully it continues."
Kelly said he was excited to play against his old teammates for just the fifth time, the third at Ottawa, since being traded to the Bruins Feb. 15 last season and it was a different feeling this time around.
"It's always nice to come back and play in front of friends – I have a lot of great memories here," Kelly said. "The first time I pretty much just pushed my shopping cart from one dressing room to the next and [had] to play your own teammates in your first game.
"But when you play an extra two months and end up winning a championship with [the Bruins], that's a bond that lasts a lifetime and it's a lot different."
Kelly's goal was his second in three games, and head coach Claude Julien said he is enjoying the offensive firepower he's been bringing to the lineup.
"He's outstanding for us," Julien said, postgame. "Actually I compared him a little bit to Bergeron, who's good in both ends of the ice. Now we've got two of those guys that we can really rely on and that's nice to see."
Julien praised Kelly's hard work and leadership, and said that his gritty attitude is the reason he's been productive.
"He's being rewarded with his hard work – he's in the right place at the right time," Julien said. "That goal he scored tonight, he's right in front of the net and he's willing to take the abuse and the beatings to make sure he scores a goal.
"He's willing to pay the price and has a great attitude and approach."
Kelly displayed his defensive prowess late in the game when he helped kill a five-minute major after defenseman Adam McQuaid
received a five minute major and a game misconduct for his hit on Ottawa's Nick Foligno.
"Obviously to lose Quadier [McQuaid] like that is tough," Kelly said. But I thought we did a good job focusing and getting that kill done."
The B's visit the Philadelphia Flyers (19-7-3) Saturday, and Kelly said he thinks the team can still improve, despite having a 17-2-1 record in their last 20 games.
"Since November rolled around, we were more consistent in our effort and found ways to score goals," Kelly said. "But there's still points of our game that we can get better, at I think and that's not necessarily a bad thing."---Anthony Gulizia