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BOSTON (CBS) – Chris Kelly has been medically cleared and is expected to return to the Boston Bruins on Monday night when they host the Carolina Hurricanes at the TD Garden.
Kelly missed the last 14 games after suffering a broken left tibia last month, and while he wasn’t lighting things up while on the ice, the Bruins are hoping the veteran center can stabilize their now-struggling offense.
A confident Kelly told reporters on Monday morning that he felt good and was ready to return. He once again skated with a new-look third line at the team’s morning skate, featuring Tyler Seguin and Daniel Paille next to him.
Kelly and Seguin were linemates for a period during Seguin’s rookie season, and the 32-year-old Kelly is hoping that chemistry will return if they line up together once again come game time.
“He’s a very gifted offensive player so it’ll be nice to play with him,” Kelly said of Seguin. “I’ve worked with him before and we had some chemistry and worked well together.”
It’s safe to assume that after missing nearly a month Kelly will likely need a few shifts, periods, or even games to get his hockey legs back, but the Bruins won’t put too much pressure on him — even with their recent struggles and the season winding down.
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“We don’t expect anything more out of any player when they’re coming back. He’ll probably ease into it – short shifts and going to keep his game simple,” head coach Claude Julien said Monday morning. “Hopefully he’ll gain momentum as the game wears on.”
With Patrice Bergeron out indefinitely after suffering a concussion last week, Kelly’s return will be a welcome sight for the Bruins and their fans.
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