CHICAGO- After 22 straight games without a goal, Chris Kelly finally—emphasize finally—got the monkey off his back with a second period tally in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
In a game where the Bruins were getting outplayed by a wide margin, Kelly stepped up and gave the Bruins some life with his first playoff goal since Game 1 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Washington Capitals.
Kelly’s goal was the Bruins lone regulation goal as the tally helped the Bruins force overtime for the second straight contest. Overtime in Game 2 worked out much better for the Bruins then overtime in Game 1 did as Daniel Paille’s third goal of the playoffs gave the Bruins a much needed overtime win and helped the Bruins even the series up at one as the two teams head to Boston for Games 3 and 4.
Obviously Kelly was excited by his goal, but he wanted to give credit to the guys on the ice for making his goal happen.
“Well, I think on my goal it was a great five-guy effort” said Kelly.
“Andrew [Ference] made a pinch, Tyler [Seguin] was in on the play and got it to Daniel [Paille], and Daniel took it to the net. I just happened to be there, tapped it in.”
It was a goal the Bruins desperately needed, but a goal that Kelly needed even more. Heading into Game 2 Kelly was a minus-9 in the postseason, one of just four Bruins with a minus rating (Seguin, Peverley and Bartkowski being the others) in the playoffs.
With the Bruins a loss away from falling behind in the series two games to none, Kelly could not have picked a better time to find the back of the net.
“I thought he played well tonight. He’s played well in some games. He hasn’t been able to produce. So tonight is a good night for him, a good time to obviously have a great game.” Said Bruins head coach Claude Julien.
“His effort and his will to be a better player was always there. You’re just waiting and hoping for that moment. Tonight was a great night for that to happen”
With Kelly not contributing much offensively in the playoffs he’s been trying to help the team in other aspects of the game. Kelly has been solid at face-offs this postseason as No. 23 has won 54.6 of the face-offs he has taken.
“I think it’s even more important to play the other parts of the game when you’re not contributing offensively” added Kelly. “I think you need to pick up other aspects of your game to make them better in order to be a better all-around player.”
It’s been a difficult year all-around for Kelly as he had a rough regular season offensively with just nine points in 34 games. Kelly only scored three times during the regular season. Kelly also missed 14 games after breaking his left tibia during a collision with Ottawa Senators’ forward Chris Neil back on March 11.
“Everyone would love to score and score consistently. For whatever reason, I haven’t. I try to stay positive. As long as the team’s doing well, I know that’s kind of a cliché, but that’s kind of how our room is” said Kelly.
Throughout the night Julien mixed and matched his lines looking for the perfect fit, he eventually got it when he put Kelly together with Paille and Seguin.
“You know, I thought Paille played extremely well the whole night” said Kelly who finished the night with a goal and a plus-2 rating.
“His goal, great pass by Seguin. I thought both of them played extremely well. Their feet were moving the whole night.”
Maybe some playing time with Seguin and Paille is what Kelly needs to get going. That for sure, wouldn’t be a bad thing for the Bruins.