Patriots

Kelly continues to impress with game-winner

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Kelly continues to impress with game-winner

LOS ANGELES, CA Chris Kelly might never come as close to a Gordie Howe hat trick as he did while potting the game-winning goal in the Bruins 4-2 win over the Kings on Saturday.

Kelly racked up his third fighting major of the season when he took exception to a hit from behind that Trevor Lewis dropped on Bostons all-around two-way center in the first period. Kelly took care of business while dropping Smith once the two combatants agreed to scrap, and it helped spark the Bruins who hadnt responded to the physical tone set by the Kings in the first period.

That was quite alright as Kelly finished off the fight before heading off to the dressing room to fix his shield and helmet while he was supposed to be spending five minutes in the box for fighting.

We battled hard. It wasnt the prettiest two points, but Timmy made the saves and we did what we needed, said Kelly. They were playing hard, finishing their checks and playing the way things should be played.

Lewis asked me afterward if I wanted to go, so I did. It turned out to be a pretty good fight.

Even better than a round of fisticuffs was Kellys play in the second and third period that allowed the Bruins to set things off physically or tilt the scoreboard under their action. Brian Rolston worked the puck through the open ice area and flashed the puck over to Benoit Pouliot near the left post. Pouliot found Kelly cutting to the net and watched his pass bounce off the third line centers skates as he cut toward the front of the net.

The score was reviewed by the NHL War Room in Toronto and deemed a goal. So Kelly is now up to 19 goals on the season with a very good chance at hitting 20, which would give the Bruins six skaters with at least 20 goals this season.

If you look at who was scoring important goals for us last year during the playoffs it wasnt always who you would think. Thats what you need, said Thomas. Especially against Montreal it was guys like Kelly, though hes done that again this year. We need a pretty well-rounded attack.

The only problem with Kelly continuing to climb higher in the offensive stratosphere? The centers price keeps going for when he's an unrestricted free agent after this season is over. All in all, considering how productive Kelly has been, it's not a bad problem to have.

Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

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Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

BOSTON – At the end of the day, it was simply a game where the Bruins allowed themselves to get outworked in the third period and overtime. 

The B’s held a three-goal lead in the second period and still enjoyed a two-goal lead in the third period, but eventually dropped a frustrating, futile 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Saturday night. It was clear to most speaking after the game that the Bruins eased up on the gas pedal once they’d scored their fourth goal of the game in the second period, and simply watched as the Sabres stomped all over them in the game’s second half. 

“I think we might have been a little bit too scared to play [in the third period], you know? We tried to just flip the pucks away, and didn’t make any plays trying to get it in the zone. Instead we should have just kept going like we did in the first two periods,” said David Pastrnak, who scored a pair of goals early in the loss to allow the Bruins to build up the three-goal lead. “Obviously we’re disappointed. We got one point. I think we didn’t play our game in the third period. We kind of stopped playing and they were all over us, and you know, it’s on us. We were the ones that gave them their point, but the first two periods were good. It’s just another learning session.”

To Pastrnak’s point, the Bruins were outshot by a 15-6 margin in the final 20 minutes of regulation and 21-6 overall in the third period and overtime prior to Ryan O’Reilly’s game-winner during 3-on-3 play. It was at this point the Bruins certainly missed stalwart stay-at-home defensemen Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller in the D-zone, and fell short of qualified penalty killers while trying to burn off a Brandon Carlo interference call at the end of the third period. 

All of that caught up to them once the Bruins loosened their grip on the Sabres, but certainly the feeling is that the loss should’ve been avoidable even if some of the circumstances made it difficult for the Black and Gold. It also should have been avoidable against a Sabres hockey club that was dreadful last season, and is again one of the doormats in the Atlantic Division in the early going thus far. 

“Those are the games you can’t lose. We obviously didn’t do the job there in the third and close it out, but we’re going to have to regroup and work on our game and be better for the next one,” said Brad Marchand. “We didn’t play the game we needed to play. We relaxed a bit and we started losing a few battles in the wrong areas, and you know, they just played better than we did.”

It’s mystifying that any team would need a crash-and-born loss like Saturday night in order to learn any lessons moving forward, and it certainly might have been a different story for the Bruins if they weren’t missing a few big defensive pieces. But that’s not how it went down for the Black and Gold as they sagged under rising pressure from the Sabres, and simply stopped working when the chips were on the table late in Saturday night’s game.