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Kessel nets 30th goal, adds assist in Bruins win

BOSTON (Ticker) -- Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien made it

clear that he wanted young forward Phil Kessel to play hard

every game.

Kessel, benched by Julien during last year's playoff series

against Montreal and a subject of trade rumors at this season's

deadline, scored his 30th goal of the season in Boston's 2-1 win

over the New York Islanders on Saturday.

"He's what you saw when he's on his game, a game-breaker,"

Julien said. "When he doesn't compete the way he's been

competing lately, he is a player that doesn't bring as much to

the table."

After his benching last spring, Kessel scored a key goal in Game

Five before the Bruins lost the series to the Canadiens in


The Bruins jumped ahead of the Islanders 1-0 on Kessel's goal

3:16 in when he got to a rebound and beat goalie Yann Danis with

a wrist shot inside the left post from the left circle. Kessel

became Boston's first 30-goal scorer since teammate Patrice

Bergeron had 31 in the 2005-06 season.

"It's a nice season," Kessel said. "I give a lot of credit to

my teammates and linemates I've been playing with this year."

Boston made it 2-0 after Kessel gathered Zdeno Chara's long

clearing pass at the Islanders blue line and sent the puck to a

charging Savard, who fired a wrist shot past Danis' glove for

his first goal since February 7 against Philadelphia. Boston

scored on the game's first two shots.

Some of Kessel's teammates agreed that he's one of the Bruins'

best offensive threats when he's on top of his game.

"I don't think you sneak up to 30," winger Shawn Thornton said.

"Guys know where he is on the ice at all times. He's usually up

against the top lines. When he's skating it shows he's

certainly a dynamic player."

P.J. Axelsson agreed.

"I think he can be a top-goal scorer," he said. "He's still

very young. He can be as good as he wants to be."

The Eastern Conference-leading Bruins earned their second

straight win after they had lost five of six. Tim Thomas

stopped 21 shots in matching his career-high with his 30th win.

Mark Streit had the goal for Islanders, who lost in regulation

for the second time in nine games (5-2-2). New York has a

NHL-worst 54 points.

"It's been great. Our guys have really come together. They're

playing hard for each other," Islanders coach Scott Gordon said

of his team's recent play. "They're supportive on the ice and

off the ice and in the room. It's something we've been striving

for in the second half, and it's been consistent."

New York cut it to 2-1 when Streit took advantage of a defensive

breakdown midway through the second period. Streit cut between

the defenseman - with Chara apparently expecting a pass as he

circled away - and fired a wrist shot inside the left post.

The Islanders pulled Danis for an extra skater with just over a

minute left.

David Krejci barely missed a goal late in the second when his

backhanded shot from the edge of the crease tipped off the

crossbar and hit Danis' back before rolling out of the crease.

Thomas made a nice stop on Streit's shot from the point just as

the first half of a 5-on-3 Islanders advantage ended in the

third period.

"I thought we had a couple of opportunities to shoot the puck.

We just didn't execute; some guys were just sleeping," Streit

said. "It's a 5-on-3. We just have to execute what we do in

practice. We've got to read and react and take advantage of it,

and we just didn't do it."


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