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Chris Kelly Making Return Against Panthers

Tuesday, 01.28.2014 / 6:08 PM ET
By Caryn Switaj - BostonBruins.com / Bruins Blog
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BOSTON, MA - Chris Kelly is set to make his return to the lineup against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night after missing 22 games.

He broke his right fibula (calf bone) on December 7. After more than seven weeks of recovery, the centerman is more than ready.

"I'm going to play tonight, and I'm excited, first game back in a while, it's almost like training camp again, it's an exciting time," he said a few hours before puck drop at TD Garden.

Kelly traveled with the Bruins on their recent road trip to Philadelphia and Long Island, taking part in practices and skates. But he did not end up seeing game action.

"It's always difficult, but you know, there was light at the end of the tunnel, and we had a plan in mind, going into the last few weeks," said the alternate captain.

"And it would have been nice to play but it was nice just being around the guys, and being on the road, and practicing with them and they did a great job in those two games."

The Bruins picked six-goal wins over the Flyers (6-1) and Islanders (6-3).

Kelly feels "really good" and is finally ready to take part in the fun.

"The team's been playing well as of late and finding the back of the net, and guys have been playing extraordinarily well," he said. "I'm just excited to play. I'm not going to worry about all of the other stuff that goes along with that. I just want to focus on getting out there and playing."

He was activated off of long-term injured reserve on Tuesday afternoon.

"It's another body who's been out for a while, so [he brings] experience, good leader, and certainly I guess it's a good time for him to come in now, so we'll let him work his way in slowly," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien.

With his first game since December 7, the approach for Kelly is simple, no matter where Julien slots him into the lineup.

He may be working his way into the lineup slowly, but the focus for each shift it to be as far away from slow as possible.

"You just go play," he said. "I don't think - you can't ease into it, especially at this point in the year. When you're playing preseason games, maybe you ease into it, but points are so important now. I think it's you're either ready or you're not and I feel good."

"I feel ready to jump right in, and keep playing, and not have any setbacks, and not look behind me."

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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
2 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
3 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
4 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
5 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
6 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
7 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
8 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
P. Bergeron 80 32 36 12 68
L. Eriksson 82 30 33 13 63
D. Krejci 72 17 46 4 63
B. Marchand 77 37 24 21 61
R. Spooner 80 13 36 -9 49
T. Krug 81 4 40 9 44
M. Beleskey 80 15 22 6 37
Z. Chara 80 9 28 12 37
J. Hayes 75 13 16 -12 29
D. Pastrnak 51 15 11 3 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Rask 31 22 8 .915 2.56
J. Gustavsson 11 9 1 .908 2.72
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