DETROIT – Sean Kuraly doesn’t score many goals at the NHL, so he makes certain to get every last bit of value in his on-ice celebrations when he does light the lamp.
The 25-year-old fourth line center is perhaps overshadowed on many other nights by the host of talented rookies on Boston’s NHL roster, but Kuraly and his scoring celebration were front and center in the Bruins 3-2 win over the Red Wings at TD Garden. It was Kuraly that got things going for the Bruins by making the proper read when Zdeno Chara stepped up to pinch at the offensive blue line, and then he was in the right place at the right time when a Matt Grzelcyk pass found him in the high slot.
Kuraly fired away and scored Boston’s first goal to things up at 1-1 in the second period, and the Black and Gold never looked back after that. It was Kuraly’s fourth goal of the season, and his first since way back on Thanksgiving when he scored in the Turkey Day eve win over the reigning Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
So Kuraly snapped his 29-game goal-scoring streak and gave it a vigorous fist pump and yell afterward as opposed to his trademark leap into the air a la last year’s playoffs.
“I was worried about it because it had been so long [since scoring],” said a smiling Kuraly. “You can't really control [the celebration]. I didn't know what was going to come out of me, but it was okay. There was no leap today, but I was pretty excited to get it.
“The point of the game is to score. It’s not my main job. There are other guys that do it, and I’ve got other main jobs and other responsibilities that I’ve got to do on a nightly basis while being consistent. But it always feels good to score…that’s why we’re all here.”
More than okay was Kuraly’s night where he scored the aforementioned goal in the second period, and also served up a perfect pass to Danton Heinen in the third for the eventual B’s game-winning strike from the slot.
Kuraly finished with a goal and two points along with a plus-2 rating in just 9:42 of ice time, and had a couple of shots on net in an efficient, very effective performance from the fourth line pivot. It’s what his head coach has come to expect from Kuraly as the constant on the B’s energy line while he was working with new wingers in Austin Czarnik and Frank Vatrano.
“Some of the stuff we preach is about our ‘D’ keeping pucks alive, but our forwards have to reload or they won’t be comfortable doing it. He’s reloading, taking the ‘D’ spot and then all of a sudden we keep a puck alive and he’s the high forward getting rewarded with a goal,” said Bruce Cassidy. “That’s a ‘Bergeron Special’ and I think our guys are learning from it. That’s a really good spot to be in to find the puck, and it’s a really good spot to be in both offensively and defensive if things break down.”
Clearly Kuraly keeps learning and improving while bringing the trademark hustle and intensity required for his role, and it continues to make him into an even more effective player as the guy truly holding the energy line together on a nightly basis.