Short-Handed Effort Shines in Season Opener
The Boston Bruins opened the 2013-14 campaign at home on Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, winning 3-1 with two goals coming short-handed, the first of those being a penalty shot by Chris Kelly.
Kelly was granted the penalty shot when he was hooked after stealing the puck in the neutral zone. The goal marks the first time in team history that the first goal of the season for any team has come on the penalty shot.
Coming off a tough campaign in the shortened season last year, Kelly showed a nice scoring touch with the triple deke, undressing Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback. “I try that move in practice but Tuukka [Rask] doesn’t move so, it ends up just going into his pad,” Said Kelly of his impressive moves. “I was happy he bit.”
Kelly was also impressive during even-strength working with Reilly Smith and Jordan Caron, creating multiple chances.
“It’s good to see him play that well because it’s going to certainly help that third line be the kind of line we expect it to be,” said Head Coach Claude Julien after game, adding that Kelly was their best player that night. “It’s nice to see him be confident right now.”
The Bruins would tack on another short-handed goal in the 3rd period from one of their other penalty kill staples, Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron slipped one past Lindback after a nice toe drag move to create a shooting lane one a two on one rush with Torrey Krug.
“Bergy was Bergy,” said Julien of his two-way center. “He didn’t look like he missed a beat.”
The Bruins were forced to kill of two extensive 5-on-3 opportunities, the first coming at the end of the 2nd and other in the 3rd, not a small task with Steven Stamkos, Ryan Malone, and Martin St. Louis on the ice.
“They have some guys that can do some damage on the power play,” said Julien of the firepower on the Lightning. “Our guys did a great job of being in the right position and not overreacting.”
Still, the Lightning managed 33 shots on Tuukka Rask, who was impressive when it counted the most, finishing the night with 32 saves.
“Your goaltender has to be the best penalty killer. I’ll say that again, and again,” said forward Chris Kelly. ” Tuukka [Rask] was outstanding when we needed him.”
The Bruins are back in action Saturday when they face the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden. Stay tuned to the Suffolk Voice for live Bruins coverage.