Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 4/11/13
The Bruins’ third line has been critiqued for much of the season, and for good reason. The line, which has seen plenty of changes and substitutions, just isn’t producing like it has in the past couple of seasons. That line took an even greater hit when Chris Kelly went down with a broken tibia last month in a game against the Ottawa Senators. While Kelly’s numbers are unlikely to raise any eyebrows, there’s no denying that he’s still a serviceable two-way center in the NHL. His absence may have been somewhat subtle, forgotten even at times. The veteran centerman returned to the lineup on Monday night, and his presence has been felt right away. Kelly hasn’t exactly torn things up since returning, but that’s never been his game. He continues to do the little things that don’t necessarily show up in the “G-A-P” columns, but  the things he does win games more often than not. The veteran was especially effective Wednesday night in the Bruins’ 5-4 win over the New Jersey Devils. While there were plenty of things to call out and criticize on the Bruins’ side, there wasn’t much of anything to complain about in regards to Kelly’s game. He’s one of the club’s most important penalty killers, and that was evident Wednesday. Kelly helped the Bruins kill off all eight penalties the Bruins were assessed. Kelly played 6:47 of his 16:58 of ice time on the PK. He played an integral role in keeping the Devils off the board on the power play in the second period when he got enough of his stick on Patrik Elias‘ to keep the Devils forward from scoring. Kelly was at it again in the game’s final minute. The Devils, already on the power play, pulled Martin Brodeur to give themselves a 6-on-4. Kelly eventually broke up a pass across the slot before clearing his own crease to ensure the B’s could escape with the one-goal win. The penalty kill is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Kelly’s game. With Patrice Bergeron out, the Bruins’ faceoff aptitude takes a bit of a hit. However, Kelly is pulling his weight in his return to the dot. He won 12 of 19 draws Wednesday night, and he has won 57 percent of his faceoffs in the two games he’s played since returning. He also helps stabilize the Bruins down the middle, which is important right about now. It’s amazing how one big injury — like a concussion to Bergeron — can unsettle your lines. We saw in the couple of games between Bergeron’s injury and Kelly’s return how haywire things can go when there’s a lack of center depth. Just ask Tyler Seguin, who was clearly overwhelmed by moving to center in Bergeron’s absence. Things got so bad, in fact, that Claude Julien was forced to move Seguin back to wing Saturday night in Montreal. To accommodate that move, Julien had to move Jaromir Jagr down to a line with Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell, which doesn’t serve much purpose other than allowing Paille and Campbell to one day tell their grandkids they played on a line with Jagr. However, with Kelly returning, things have gotten straightened out some. Kelly served the last two games as a pivot for Paille and Seguin, which allowed Jagr to move back to a line with Brad Marchand and Campbell. All the Bruins have done since making those moves was combine to score 11 goals in two games. Julien is certainly taking note of having Kelly back in the fold. The Bruins coach called Kelly’s efforts “unbelievable” on Thursday morning. There are still plenty of things to improve upon for the Bruins right now, but getting Kelly back is certainly going to help.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jason Kidd to be named general manager of Bucks

USWNT romps Japan 5-2 to win third Women's World Cup title

Report: JPP 'severely injured' hand in fireworks mishap

Blatter: European politicians helped Qatar land World Cup

Report: Cavs considering trading for Joe Johnson

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Andrew Quarless found hiding in plant after firing gun

Odell Beckham: I don't want to be known only for 'the catch'

Borland on retirement: Health 'more important' than money

Three NBA teams that improved most early in offseason

Adam Eaton gets 4th of July surprise from brother

Clippers in talks with JaVale McGee, Amar’e Stoudemire

2015 All-Star starters announced, featuring four Royals

WATCH: Jake Marisnick makes fantastic running catch

WATCH: Carlos Gomez leaves gum, note for Billy Hamilton

Kansas to wear new USA jerseys after request from FIBA

What can the Saints expect from CJ Spiller in 2015?

Isaiah Thomas trolls Kings after Rajon Rondo signing

Kosta Koufos agrees to deal with Kings

Report: Blues in trade talks about Kevin Shattenirk

Report: Gregg Popovich plans to fulfill five-year contract

4-Star LB commits to Kentucky, zings Louisville

Clay Buchholz not worried about trade rumors

All hope isn't completely lost for this year's Milwaukee Brewers

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

2015 All-Star starters announced

JPP injured in fireworks mishap?

Odell Beckham doesn't want to be known for 'the catch'

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.