Bruins need more out of Jaromir Jagr, third line
|05.06.13 at 1:34 pm ET|
TORONTO — Two years ago, the Bruins’ third line made a big difference in the Eastern Conference finals. After losing the first two games at home, the line of Chris Kelly between Michael Ryder and Rich Peverley made a big difference going forward and played a major role in the B’s getting out of the first round.
This season, the Bruins haven’t had the depth they had the past two years. Though most of the faces on offense have stayed the same, the lack of production from the third line has been glaring practically all season. The trio of Chris Kelly between Chris Bourque and Peverley didn’t work and then Kelly got hurt and missed 14 games in just the second game of the Jordan Caron-Kelly-Peverley experiment. Jaromir Jagr, Kaspars Daugavins, Carl Soderberg and Jay Pandolfo have all seen time on what has been a constantly changing line.
Now, the Peverley-Kelly-Jagr line is hoping to be the one that reverses the fortune of what’s been an unproductive area of Boston’s lineup. Peverley figures to stick on the left wing after being a healthy scratch in favor of Daugavins in Game 1. Through two games, the line has produced no points and eight shots on goal. Jagr is a minus-2, while Kelly is a minus-1 and Peverley has an even rating.
“Obviously it would be nice to have a little more in-zone time, but I think we have done a lot of good things in the first two games,” Kelly said after Monday’s morning skate. “Communication is extremely important, especially moving forward.”
Peverley’s addition was welcomed on Saturday, as he won 10 of 12 faceoffs after Kelly had gone 2-for-9 on draws in Game 1.
Jagr, meanwhile, could be an ace in the hole if he can get going for Boston. The veteran right wing missed the last two games of the season with the flu and said prior to the playoffs that he still wasn’t feeling well.
The 41-year-old was on the ice in Monday’s morning skate, though he spent a lot of time by the bench and was not made available to the media. Claude Julien said Sunday that Jagr still wasn’t at 100 percent, but Kelly still likes what he’s seen thus far from him.
“Jags has been good,” Kelly said. “He’s a big strong guy who makes things happen. I think we could support him a little bit better, especially in the offensive zone. Like I said, communication is key. Holding onto the puck and making the right plays out there will help us generate more offensive chances.”
The B’s can only hope that line generates more chances. The members of the third line scored five goals over Games 3 and 4 against Montreal two years ago, with Michael Ryder scoring the game-winner in overtime of Game 4 to tie the series.
The Bruins won the Stanley Cup because of their offensive depth (and a couple guys named Thomas and Chara), and they’ll need to have it again after going too long without it this season.