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Kessel Returns: "It felt pretty good."

With two assists in nearly 20-minutes, Kessel made an impact in his first game

Friday, 01.30.2009 / 10:06 AM ET / Features
By John Bishop  -
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Kessel Returns: \"It felt pretty good.\"
Boston, MA -- Despite the score, the Bruins defeat at the hands of the New Jersey Devils did feature one very positive story -- the return of Phil Kessel.

"I’m obviously a little tired at some points, but it felt pretty good for getting back for the first game," said Kessel."Obviously you got to get your legs back under you and try to get your wind, but I felt all right."

The Bruins forward had two assists on the evening and played almost 20-minutes. His return, coupled with the recent return of Milan Lucic, reunited the "Lucic - Savard - Kessel" line and the trio's reanimation brought immediate results.

"Yeah, we felt great as a unit," said Savard. "It’s almost like we were excited to see each other again and the three of us played well all night.

"[Kessel] was good all night. He skated well. He made the little plays tonight on the wall.

"He kept it pretty simple -- [we'd] like to see him score -- but I’m sure that will come," he said.

"I think he came back and played well for his first game back," said Lucic. "He was skating well out there.

"He’s another guy just like me, [Patrice] Bergeron, and [Andrew] Ference, who haven’t been in the lineup in a while, so it takes time...and I think he’s going to get better and better, but he’s got to work hard and make sure he does get better."

But it was good to get the line back together.

"I think for the first time back in a while we did gel well," added Lucic. "I think me and Phil [Kessel] not playing for a while, we didn’t want to go crazy and be too fancy, but I think we played well together.

"It gets back to work ethic, and I think even though those two guys are skilled guys, we still have to work hard to be successful and be a contributing line every night," said Lucic.

At that point, hockey skill takes over.

"We’ve built a chemistry between the three of us," said Lucic. "We enjoy playing together.  We have fun playing with each other.  I think that helps a lot.  All three of us are guys that want to contribute and be a part of this team.  We’ve just got to keep working hard to make sure that we are."

From his spot on the blueline, Aaron Ward saw the same things he always sees from Kessel and going forward, that is a good thing.

"Phil’s his usual waterbug self," said Ward. "I’m sure if you ask him it wasn’t all there but it’s tough to see it in his game.

"He’s the type of guy that flies around the ice and he’s effective when his feet are moving. He had that going tonight."




1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
3 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
4 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
5 OTT 74 37 25 12 216 199 86
6 FLA 75 34 26 15 186 205 83
7 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
8 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48


P. Bergeron 74 21 32 2 53
L. Eriksson 74 19 24 2 43
M. Lucic 74 17 25 12 42
D. Hamilton 72 10 32 -3 42
C. Soderberg 75 12 28 10 40
B. Marchand 70 22 17 5 39
R. Smith 74 13 25 10 38
T. Krug 71 12 24 13 36
D. Krejci 40 7 21 6 28
C. Kelly 73 7 20 7 27
T. Rask 30 19 12 .922 2.33
N. Svedberg 7 5 1 .918 2.33
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