– After missing 19 games, forward Rich Peverley
was healthy enough to return to the lineup
against the Anaheim Ducks, which meant Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien had some tough decisions to make.
But one thing was certain, Julien knew he couldn’t break up the line of Benoit Pouliot
, Chris Kelly
and Brian Rolston
The move was undoubtedly the right one, as Pouliot and Rolston had a goal and an assist each, and Kelly had two assists to lift the Bruins to a 3-2 victory over the Ducks.
“That line’s been outstanding for us,” Julien said. “It’s pretty hard to break up a line that keeps scoring every night and those guys are building pretty good chemistry right now.
Since the Bruins 6-2 loss to the Florida Panthers March 15 when Rolston scored a goal and picked up an assist – the line has caught fire.
The trio has produced nine goals and 17 assists in that six-game stretch: Pouliot with three goals and five assists; Kelly with three goals and four assists; and Rolston with three goals and eight assists.
“All in all we had a strong game [Sunday],” Rolston said. “[Lately] we’re getting good opportunities, we’re just playing off each other and we just have great chemistry.”
According to Rolston, it all starts with the play of Kelly – who recorded the primary assist on both of his linemates’ goals in Sunday’s victory.
“He’s just a great player, he plays both ends of the ice, he never cheats, he can make plays, he’s great defensively – he’s basically the full package,” Rolston said. “He made two great plays on Benny’s goal
and my goal
, and we took care of [each other]. Benny made a great play on my goal as well, made a great play on the wall to get it to Kells and he made a great pass to me.”
As the Bruins hit the final stretch of the regular season, the depth that the Kelly line has provided to the lineup is energizing.
So what makes the line so successful? They just make the most out of their opportunities according to captain Zdeno Chara
“They keep it simple, they don’t try to complicate situations and plays and they shoot the puck when they have a chance,” Chara said. “It’s nice when you get that secondary scoring from your third or fourth line. It’s very important for a hockey club that we don’t always rely on two guys – we get contributions from other guys.”
When Rolston joined the Bruins at the trade deadline, the veteran forward was very candid when identifying his role with the club. He knew he was added as a depth player, but even after scoring just nine points in 49 games with the New York Islanders, he knew he could still contribute.
“I’ve produced in this league before, and I’m not over the hill yet,” Rolston said with a smile. “I had no question in my mind I could contribute on a regular basis, but it’s about the opportunity and getting your confidence and I think the coaching staff has showed a lot of confidence in me. And that gives you confidence as a player, plain and simple.”