Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Bruins show confidence in Kelly

Categories: BOS vs. TAM, Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning

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While Patrice Bergeron is sidelined with a concussion, Chris Kelly, front, has slid in as the Bruins' second-line centre. Boston coach Claude Julien says the similarities between the two players will help with familiarity. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) While Patrice Bergeron is sidelined with a concussion, Chris Kelly, front, has slid in as the Bruins' second-line centre. Boston coach Claude Julien says the similarities between the two players will help with familiarity. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

No change in Bruins lineup

After a rest day yesterday, the Bruins returned to practice today at TD Garden. There were no lineup changes since their last practice on Tuesday.

Chris Kelly remained as the No. 2 centre between Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi. Kelly is replacing Patrice Bergeron, who will not be available for the start of the series because of the concussion he suffered last Friday in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Bergeron has yet to resume physical activities.

Tyler Seguin, a healthy scratch for the 11 previous playoff games, practiced on the third line with Michael Ryder and Rich Peverley.

"The guy we've put there right now in Bergy's spot is a guy who offensively has put up some decent numbers," Claude Julien said of Kelly. "Defensively, he's been a very good player his whole career. To us, he's been a good two-way player. We've kind of replaced Bergy with something similar to him. We feel comfortable with that working out. With the rest, we'll see."

Kelly has appeared in 47 career playoff games between Boston and Ottawa. Kelly advanced to the Stanley Cup final with the Senators in 2006-07.

Seguin, however, has no NHL playoff experience.

"We've got to give him that opportunity to get his feet wet," Julien said. "When we say getting his feet wet, you've got to give him that opportunity. He's also got to show that he deserves to be there and deserves to stay there. He's well aware of that. Anyone who comes into the playoffs, it doesn't matter who we put in there. You've got to be able to do the job. It's not about teaching. It's not about anything else but the moment and the importance of what that means."

Stamkos merits attention

In the four-game sweep of Washington in the second round, Steven Stamkos scored two goals on 15 shots. In seven games against Pittsburgh in the opening round, Stamkos only put 12 shots on goal. With the more playoff experience Stamkos sees, the 21-year-old appears to getting more comfortable.

"He's an unbelievable player," said Brad Marchand, Stamkos's world junior teammate in 2009. "He's shown in the last couple years how deadly he is. He's one of those guys that you always have to know where he is on the ice. If not, then he's going to make you pay."

Stamkos will most likely centre the first line between Ryan Malone and Martin St. Louis. Stamkos will be the Lightning's go-to triggerman on the power play. Stamkos scored 17 man-advantage goals during the regular season, second only to Daniel Sedin (18).

Practice pace quickens

Both teams returned to practice today after off days yesterday. The Lightning will travel to Boston tomorrow morning, then practice at the Garden in the afternoon prior to Saturday's Game 1.

Because of the long layoff, both coaches have had to balance rest and rust. Today, the Bruins opted for a fast-paced session that emphasized down-low battles. Extra forward Trent Whitfield was left with a cut near his left eye after a collision with Mark Recchi.

"We've had some opportunities here to get guys some time off," Julien said. "But the minute you show up at the rink, it's got to be about business. It's got to be about getting back to doing the right things and being sharp. We've got a few days here to get ready for that first game. That first game's really important to us. We had the guys battle-ready today. I thought they worked hard. Tomorrow's going to be another day. We'll keep working in preparation for that big game on Saturday."

Lightning sign Panik

The Lightning signed Richard Panik to a three-year entry-level contract today. Panik was the club's second-round pick in 2009.

Panik is a native of Martin, Slovakia. This past season, the 6-foot-1, 218-pound forward split time between Guelph and Belleville of the OHL. In 51 total games, Panik scored 27 goals and 29 assists. In six playoff games for Guelph, Panik scored a goal and two assists.

The 20-year-old is eligible to return to junior as an overage player in 2011-12. However, Panik will most likely start his pro career in Norfolk, the Lightning's AHL affiliate.