"I’m obviously a little tired at some points, but it felt pretty good for getting back for the first game," said Kessel."Obviously you got to get your legs back under you and try to get your wind, but I felt all right."
The Bruins forward had two assists on the evening and played almost 20-minutes. His return, coupled with the recent return of Milan Lucic
, reunited the "Lucic - Savard - Kessel" line and the trio's reanimation brought immediate results.
"Yeah, we felt great as a unit," said Savard. "It’s almost like we were excited to see each other again and the three of us played well all night.
"[Kessel] was good all night. He skated well. He made the little plays tonight on the wall.
"He kept it pretty simple -- [we'd] like to see him score -- but I’m sure that will come," he said.
"I think he came back and played well for his first game back," said Lucic. "He was skating well out there.
"He’s another guy just like me, [Patrice] Bergeron, and [Andrew] Ference, who haven’t been in the lineup in a while, so it takes time...and I think he’s going to get better and better, but he’s got to work hard and make sure he does get better."
But it was good to get the line back together.
"I think for the first time back in a while we did gel well," added Lucic. "I think me and Phil [Kessel] not playing for a while, we didn’t want to go crazy and be too fancy, but I think we played well together.
"It gets back to work ethic, and I think even though those two guys are skilled guys, we still have to work hard to be successful and be a contributing line every night," said Lucic.
At that point, hockey skill takes over.
"We’ve built a chemistry between the three of us," said Lucic. "We enjoy playing together. We have fun playing with each other. I think that helps a lot. All three of us are guys that want to contribute and be a part of this team. We’ve just got to keep working hard to make sure that we are."
From his spot on the blueline, Aaron Ward saw the same things he always sees from Kessel and going forward, that is a good thing.
"Phil’s his usual waterbug self," said Ward. "I’m sure if you ask him it wasn’t all there but it’s tough to see it in his game.
"He’s the type of guy that flies around the ice and he’s effective when his feet are moving. He had that going tonight."