It certainly hasn’t been a great start to the season for Chris Kelly, but Kelly took a step in the right direction in yesterday’s 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Florida.
Entering the game, Kelly had gone without a goal in his first 14 games to start the season, his longest goal drought since he went 22 games without a goal during the 2010-11 season (two of those coming with the Ottawa Senators).
Yesterday with the Bruins holding a slim 2-1 lead over the Panthers, Kelly found the back of the net for the first time—on the power play—giving the Bruins a two-goal lead, and finally getting that monkey off his back.
Going back to the 2010-11 season, the Bruins have won 25 straight games in which Kelly has scored.
“It’s always nice to score,” said Kelly. “That one was a long time coming, so hopefully it’s a sign of good things to come.”
Even though Kelly has only five points (1-4-5) on the year, Kelly’s game has been solid as usual. Kelly has been a staple on what is the league’s best penalty kill, and Kelly’s play in his own end is something that sometimes goes unnoticed, but it’s an area that No. 23 excels in.
Bruins bench boss Claude Julien has seen much improvement out of the veteran Kelly.
“He’s one of those guys that puts a lot of pressure on himself. To be able to get that monkey off the back is always a good thing” said Julien.
“Although he hadn’t scored yet, I thought his game was really coming along. A lot of things, he’d be doing well. He’s part of the penalty kill, but also his skating and timing are coming along. You’re starting to see him turn the corner in regards to his play.”
Kelly’s goal was nothing spectacular as the puck found his stick off of a lucky bounce, but when you’re goal-less, you got to take them anyway you can get them.
“I thought it was a great pass by (Paille). Not many guys can make that pass” said a joking Kelly.
“No, it was a lucky bounce. I’ll take it.”