Chris Kelly had two goals and a plus-two rating after boosting his team from a two-goal deficit in the first period of Saturday night's 4-2 win over Winnipeg.
Kelly now sits second on the team, just behind Tyler Seguin in goals this year, with nine to his name now. But while his name is on the scorecard, he was adamant about crediting his teammates for his success.
His first goal in particular was off a great play from Rich Peverley. The Bruins were on the penalty kill, but Peverley managed to wrestle the puck through the neutral zone and into Winnipeg's side. He skated all the way to the crease, through defensemen, and put the shot on net right in front of Ondrej Pavelec. After the initial save, Kelly came bounding through the slot and secured and buried the goal to tie the game at two.
Though Kelly credited Peverley, Peverley was equally anxious to put his efforts off on something else.
"I think it was a bit lucky," Peverley said. "I tried to chip it out the first time and kind of fanned on it. And maybe kind of made him [Zach Bogosian] flat footed a little so it was a little bit lucky but I just tried to chip it passed him again and he couldn’t hold me up because of the rules."
The second -and eventual game winning- goal was also a heads up play from forward Benoit Pouliot. He fired a near perfect pass across ice to Kelly who was waiting at the right circle, and one-timed it into the back of the net before Pavelec could adjust his positioning. With less than three minutes left in the second, that goal put the Bruins in a position to take two points after losing last night's game.
"I just happened to be kind of, right place, right time, especially that first one," Kelly said. "You know, Rich [Peverley], like I said, he's probably one of the best skaters in the league and he takes the puck to the net. Like, a lot of guys don't, but he just happened to be rewarded with that one and it was a great pass by Benny [Benoit Pouliot] on the second one."
Head coach Claude Julien noticed just how effective that line has been and has also been impressed with Kelly so far this season.
"Kelly continues to have a real good year for us," Julien said. "He’s one of those guys that flies under the radar most times. There are always bigger names that get mentioned ahead of him, but he’s probably one of our most consistent forwards this year and continues to impress on the stat sheet. And something that’s not necessarily thought of as pedigree, but at the same time he’s one of those guys that is contributing so well for us and that’s giving our team a lot more depth with scoring. And with (Rich) Peverley on his line right now and (Benoit) Pouliot who is playing better made up a really good line for us."
Some solid defensive plays also kept the Bruins in the game when Tim Thomas wasn't there to stop them. Thomas did make 40 saves tonight, but there were a couple that his defensemen made for him.
Adam McQuaid made a leaping grab of a loose puck right in the crease behind Thomas and forced it out of harm's way. With six seconds left to go in the game, Johnny Boychuk went down behind Thomas and made a save with his body to keep the Bruins up by two. Right after that, Thomas gave Boychuk a pat on the back and a smile to show his appreciation.
"It was great, McQuaid jumped up in the air and got that one rebound that went up," Thomas said. "And then Johnny Boychuk at the end. I really appreciate the effort those guys put in for me on a night-to- night basis. It is 4-2 some guys probably wouldn’t want to take the chance of getting their face that close to the puck. Johnny did it for me."
The Bruins will travel to Toronto for their last game in November on Wednesday. Boston has won both meetings so far this year, and you can bet the Maple Leafs will have it out for them then. But, as Thomas said tonight, if the Bruins have anything to say about it, it could be a bit more difficult for Toronto to do.
"Most guys would probably say that we weren’t at one hundred percent from our heavy game schedule," Thomas said. "But still not possibly feeling our best at the beginning of the game and not everything clicking and just finding a way to win. That is what this team does."