Kelly checked out for facial injury
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — While the Bruins practiced at the Lake Placid Olympic Center yesterday, Chris Kelly was back in Boston, according to coach Claude Julien.
Kelly was undergoing examination for a possible facial fracture but was due in Montreal last night.
“There might be a fracture, but it’s nothing that would prevent him from playing,’’ Julien said.
Kelly was injured at 11:21 of the first period of Game 3. As he drove to the net on an odd-man rush, Montreal’s Scott Gomez shoved him from behind. Kelly tumbled headfirst into the net and struck his face on a goal post. Kelly was down for several minutes but remained in the game (he scored an empty-net goal to seal the 4-2 victory). Gomez was called for interference.
Julien noted that the visor Kelly wears most likely saved him from a more severe injury. The coach also put Gomez’s push on Kelly into the category of Zdeno Chara riding Max Pacioretty into one of the Bell Centre stanchions March 8. It was a hit without malicious intent that resulted in a worse-than-expected outcome.
“In Kelly’s case, it was interference, but I don’t think he meant to push him into the net or go headfirst into the post,’’ Julien said. “You’ve got to understand that there’s parts of the game where sometimes the result of what happens is not necessarily the intention.
“Was it a penalty? Absolutely. I don’t think there was any intent to injure there. Thankfully our player came out of it OK.’’
Kelly is averaging 14:21 of ice time per game in the series, including 2:17 of shorthanded time, most among Boston forwards. He has been killing penalties alongside Rich Peverley.
If Kelly is unavailable tonight, Tyler Seguin would most likely take his place on the No. 3 line. Yesterday, Peverley centered Seguin and Michael Ryder. Jamie Arniel, one of the Black Aces, also took shifts on the third line. Seguin has not appeared in the series yet.
“He’s getting closer,’’ said coach Jacques Martin. “This is the first time at least he had an opportunity to practice with the team. So that’s a call we’ll make tomorrow.
“Jeff’s an experienced player. He played a major role this year on our penalty killing. He’s a very smart player, and he brings some leadership to our dressing room as well. He brings a lot of contribution.’’
Halpern would most likely replace Benoit Pouliot, who is scoreless in three games. Pouliot drew the attention of Andrew Ference after he threw a high hit on Johnny Boychuk in Game 3. Ference fought Pouliot, who was called for charging on the play.
“The first two games were a lot easier, a lot less frustrating after wins,’’ Halpern said. “This time of year, anybody, including myself, wants to be a part of what is going on on the ice and you want to be in the playoffs.
“You work so hard throughout the summer and throughout the year to get to this point, and to get injured a week before it starts, it’s frustrating. Even just practicing with the team again, it’s fun.’’
Nancy L. Marrapese-Burrell of the Globe staff contributed to this report from Brossard, Quebec.