WILMINGTON — The sight of Chris Kelly skating with the grey line along with Rich Peverley, Jay Pandolfo and Kaspars Daugavins, came as yet another encouraging sign for the Bruins who welcomed Kelly’s return to his first full practice with the team Friday at Ristuccia Arena where the team conducted a spirited workout in advance of Saturday night’s important Northeast Division showdown at Montreal.
“Yeah, he’s moving in the right direction,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “It’s nice to see him back with us.”
Julien said Kelly, who suffered a broken left tibia March 11 in a nasty knee-to-knee collision with Chris Neil, was not likely to be a game-time decision against the Canadiens, who lead Boston by one point (53-52) in the division.
“No, I’m going to leave it as day-to-day right now,” Julien said. “He’s progressing and I don’t know what his status is going to be here moving forward, whether it’s going to be tomorrow or the beginning of the next week.”
Kelly, who participated in a morning skate with the team before Thursday night’s 1-0 shutout over the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden, was encourgaged by Julien’s prognosis. He was with the team for the trip to Montreal.
“At least he’s talking about it being a matter of days and not weeks,” Kelly joked in the locker room after Friday’s practice. “It felt good today and it was nice to practice with the guys and get out there not just for a morning skate but for practice and throw my weight around.”
Asked about a comedic pratfall he suffered on the ice during a drill, Kelly replied, “Yeah, that was me throwing my weight around. But it feels good, which is a good thing.”
* Julien addressed the matter of the 85 shots the Bruins had allowed the opposition in the last two games. “I mean, some of those were bad line changes but a lot of those things, too, were the result of New Jersey shooting from everywhere last night,” he said, referring to the 40 shots the Devils put on net against Tuukka Rask. “So we’ve been through some of that stuff in the past where the shots were coming through from the outside, certainly not a dangerous area, but when you have two games with that amount [of shots], there’s some concern there, and I think we can be a little bit better in that department.
“So we worked on that, as you saw today, on doing a little bit better job on our backcheck and maybe not being so easy to get through our forecheck.”