PITTSBURGH — The Bruins’ third line had just found its rhythm. Last Saturday at TD Garden, Jordan Caron and Rich Peverley assisted on Chris Kelly’s first-period goal.
“They found the back of the net,” said Patrice Bergeron. “But they also had some time in the offensive zone by moving their feet, reading off each other, winning battles in corners. It just seemed like the whole line was clicking.”
Now they’ll have to find their pace all over again.
Kelly missed Tuesday’s game because of an injured left knee. Because of swelling around the knee, the Bruins have not been able to determine the severity of the injury. Kelly, who was with the team in Pittsburgh, will be reevaluated upon the team’s return to Boston.
“We’re anticipating and hoping for minor,” said coach Claude Julien. “But for me to predict right now would be careless.”
Kelly was hurt at 0:42 of Monday’s second period against Ottawa at Scotiabank Place when he collided with former teammate Chris Neil. Neil was not penalized and will not face supplemental discipline.
The Bruins could have recalled a center from Providence. Ryan Spooner leads that team with 10 goals and 31 assists in 47 games. Spooner made his NHL debut earlier this season when he centered the fourth line against Montreal Feb. 6.
Instead, the Bruins shifted Peverley from right wing to center. Peverley played 14:21 and assisted on Zdeno Chara’s power-play goal. Peverly won 10 of 13 faceoffs.
“I’ve played center before,” Peverley said. “Chris and I switch off a lot, too. It’s not like it’s that foreign for me.”
Caron moved from left wing to right wing. The left-shot Caron is comfortable playing his off wing.
Jay Pandolfo, a healthy scratch Monday, was the No. 3 left wing. Pandolfo played 1:39 on the penalty kill to assume some of Kelly’s shorthanded work.
For most of the season, Kelly hadn’t had much offensive traction. He has two goals and four assists in 23 games. But the coaching staff still trusts him in defensive situations. Kelly averages 2:25 of shorthanded ice time per game for the top-rated penalty kill in the league.
Sick day for Rask
The Bruins were planning to give Tuukka Rask a second straight start. But Rask was suffering from flu-like symptoms after Monday’s win.
Anton Khudobin stopped 31 of 34 shots. Khudobin was perfect on 22 shots through 40 minutes.
“He kept us in the game, especially in the second period,” Julien said. “He made some big saves. He put us in a good position going into the third period. But the breakdowns in front of him eventually caught up to him. I thought he was good.’’
The simple approach
In Monday’s shootout in Ottawa, as the team’s second shooter, Bergeron tried to get Senators goalie Robin Lehner moving. Bergeron approached from the left side and cut to the middle, which opened up Lehner’s pads. Before Lehner could slam them shut, Bergeron tucked the puck five-hole for the Bruins’ first shootout goal.
“I’ve got to find some new moves and switch it up a bit,” Bergeron said. “With that goalie, I felt like it was the choice.”
Bergeron’s maneuver was a yawn compared with Kaspars Daugavins’s move. The Senators left winger pushed the puck with the toe of his blade, then attempted a spin-o-rama on Tuukka Rask. The Boston goalie responded by kicking out Daugavins’s attempt with his left pad.
“No,” said Bergeron with a smile when asked if he’d ever try something similar. “I don’t have that in my bag, I guess.”
Malkin sits out
The Penguins were without Evgeni Malkin (upper body). The center skated on his own prior to the game. Malkin has missed six games, including four because of a concussion . . . Because of Malkin’s injury, the Bruins were free to match Chara against Sidney Crosby. In previous games, the Bruins had deployed Chara against Malkin. Chara helped keep Crosby scoreless for the first time in nine games. Crosby had three shots in 23:15 of ice time . . . Milan Lucic, David Krejci, and Nathan Horton were on the ice for both of Brandon Sutter’s goals. They struggled just as much offensively as they did defensively . . . Dennis Seidenberg appeared in his 200th game as a Bruin.
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeFluto.