– While the clock ticks toward the start of the Bruins postseason, forward Chris Kelly
finds himself in a vastly different scenario than he was in last season.
|Pouliot and Kelly |
After joining the team at last year’s trade deadline, Kelly, as well as former Bruins Michael Ryder and Rich Peverley
, formed a line that sparked the B’s offense during their quest for the Stanley Cup.
Now, No. 23 centers veteran forward Brian Rolston
, who’s played in 70 playoffs game – including 18 with the Boston Bruins from 2001-04 – and Benoit Pouliot
, who’s played in 22 playoff contests, and is preparing for his first with the Bruins.
“You see Rolly who’s seen it all, probably twice,” Kelly said. “And what he brings is unbelievable. And then you got Benny, and he’s been a treat to play with all year. I’m sure he’s excited to be in the postseason with Boston, I know he had a great series last year with Montreal so this is nothing knew for him going into these playoffs.”
Together, Kelly hopes his trio can replicate the same magic his line performed last season.
“I think there’s pressure on everybody to perform,” Kelly said. “Are we putting added pressure on ourselves? I wouldn’t say so because then you’re just going to set yourself up for failure.
“I think Rolly and Benny are great players, and we’ve formed a little bit of chemistry the last little while. It’s been nice to be able to play with them. We want to go out there and play the game the right way and help contribute offensively and defensively and build off what we had in the regular season.”
Kelly’s line, which featured appearances from Jordan Caron
and Rich Peverley
throughout the season, gelled late in the season with the addition of Rolston.
Throughout a six-game stretch from March 15-26, Kelly, Pouliot and Rolston combined for 9 goals and 17 assists.
“Through 82 games, you’re always going to play with different players and for whatever circumstances – you got injuries, you’re going through a tough time in the year and they change the lines up [and] you got guys who come up – that’s part of it,” Kelly said.
“But it is nice to get familiar wingers and familiar linemates to build some chemistry with.”
Pouliot, who played against the Bruins in the opening round of last year’s playoffs as a member of the Canadiens, has become popular with his highlight-reel goals such as the one he scored
against the Florida Panthers earlier this season.
“He’s kind of undercover skill wise,” Kelly said. “I’m sure the more and more you see him, the more you appreciate him. I think he has probably the nicest goal the team scored this year against Florida – he just does a lot of things like that that go unnoticed.”
While Kelly appreciates the success he and his line achieved this season, he’s even more grateful for the opportunity to make it into the playoffs.
“I think as you get older, you realize what a special time this is,” Kelly said. “In the early [stages of your career], you maybe take it for granted but it gets harder and harder every year to make it to the postseason and it’s something you truly cherish and realize that it’s another great opportunity.
“You want to come out and do your best to help the team whatever way you can.”