November 2, 2011

B's restore confidence with much-needed win over Ottawa

by Jesse Connolly

Chris Kelly celebrates his second-period goal in the Bruins' 5-3 win over Ottawa. (Getty)

BOSTON – If hockey games were portraits, the B’s didn’t exactly paint the Mona Lisa on Tuesday, but progressive improvements from the opening faceoff until the final horn resulted in a much-needed, skid-snapping, 5-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

Entering the matchup as losers of three straight, Boston overcame an early 2-1 deficit and took control against the red-hot Senators, outscoring them 4-1 over the final forty minutes of play. And as the tallies began piling up, a sense of confidence the Black and Gold haven’t felt for quite some time was finally restored.

“Yeah, I thought, not even just the goals, I just think that the whole way we played,” said Chris Kelly. “We were dumping the puck well, retrieving the puck well. I thought you could tell that we were getting better and better each shift that we did that. It seemed that that confidence that we played with before was slowly shift after shift coming back.”

In a season that’s been rife with uneven play and disappointing efforts, Kelly deemed game No. 11 of the 2011-12 campaign as Boston’s best performance to date.

“I thought for the most part that was the most consistent effort we've had so far this year,” the center said, “and there's still times that I thought we could have been a bit better but for the most part I thought we played well.”

Kelly was one of five different goal-scorers on the evening as the Bruins got contributions from every line in the win – a trend quite common throughout their Stanley Cup run this past spring.

“That’s what you want,” coach Claude Julien said. “That’s what made our team successful last year, and I think it’s important to get some of that and obviously help guys get their confidence, too. When everybody goes out there and contributes in the fashion that they did tonight, it’s a lot better for the confidence of the whole team.”

With frustrations reaching a boiling point in the dressing room, two fluky goals in the first period by the Senators could’ve easily left the beleaguered Bruins reeling, but the Black and Gold persevered.

“It was good especially after those first two goals were some bad bounces again I think,” said winger Shawn Thornton, who dropped the gloves with Zenon Konopka and later assisted on Dan Paille’s tally in the third period. “I like the way that we didn’t just hang our heads just like we’ve been lately. We just kind of tried to work through it and work through it and it paid off tonight thank God.”

The Bruins won’t have the chance to put together their first winning streak of the season until Saturday night when they visit the Leafs, but Tuesday’s gratifying victory should certainly be something for them to build upon going forward.

“It's one game but it's definitely a stepping stone in the right direction,” said Kelly. “Hopefully we can build off this and have a couple good practices before we go into Toronto.”