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Third Line Gaining Confidence

by Eric Russo / Boston Bruins

WILMINGTON, MATyler Seguin and Chris Kelly can feel it coming. Claude Julien can, too.

The line of Seguin, Kelly and Rich Peverley has had trouble getting on the board during the postseason, combining for just two goals and three assists. But Seguin’s tally in Game Four against the New York Rangers and a strong performance by the entire line in Game Five has everybody feeling much better about the state of the trio heading into the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Julien thinks that Seguin heating up and skating alongside Kelly and Peverley could rekindle some of the magic those two had with goal-scorer Michael Ryder during the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup two years ago.

“I think Richard can, offensively, have better numbers-there’s no doubt there-and so can Kells. They’ve shown that in the past,” said the B’s Head Coach, following his team’s practice at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday morning.

“Basically, when you look back at a couple years ago, it was those two with Ryder, as an offensive guy. Tyler’s very capable of producing like Ryder did. It’s just a matter of getting that magic together and doing the stuff that they need to do to be better.

“I thought the last couple games they started showing some things. They didn’t necessarily show up on the scoreboard, but I thought even Game Five they spent a lot of time in the offensive zone, making some plays, making things happen. I’m encouraged by the direction that line has taken.

“If it means that they become extremely good in the third round then that will certainly be a big boost for us.”

Kelly, who has yet to register a point this postseason, likes what he has seen out of his line of late, as well, and said if they keep working hard the goals will come.

“I thought we played extremely well in Game Five,” said Kelly, who had two shots on goal and three hits in the series-clinching win over the New York Rangers. “We had some opportunities to score and, for whatever reason, they’re not happening right now. I thought Tyler played extremely well in Game Four; he moved his feet, created a lot of chance. He ended up scoring that game.

“I think they’ll come in bunches. The line’s been skating well, we’ve been playing well. That’s all we can really do right now.”

With the Bruins’ fourth line playing so well against New York (they combined for four goals and six assists in the series), the Kelly line is the only line still struggling to score. Seguin, who said he “feels great” and “better than I did when I started the playoffs” joined Kelly and Peverley during the Bruins’ first round series against Toronto and believes the offense will come as the line continues to build a rapport.

“We still want to be better,” Seguin said. “We think that we’re a four line team, you can see how our fourth line has been playing; we want to step up and contribute as best we can. I don’t think we’ve had great results so far, but we’re working hard and we’re building chemistry.”

While not scoring has been tough on the line, they still have made sure they are sticking together and playing a responsible game in all three zones.

“I think we help each other,” said Seguin. “Sometimes when things aren’t going well, or you’re not scoring, you’re kind of just, ‘Let’s not get scored on, let’s be great in our D-zone.’ I think, especially when I played with Bergy’s [Patrice Bergeron] line, we work in our D-zone. If we focus on that with Kells and Pevs, we’re going to be good.”

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