MONTREAL – Chris Kelly has a black eye and has to wear a face cage on his helmet but he will be in the Boston Bruins lineup for Game 4 of their playoff series against Montreal Canadiens.
Forward Jeff Halpern meanwhile has “a pretty good chance” to return to Montreal’s lineup after missing the first three games with an undisclosed lower body injury.
Montreal leads the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-final 2-1.
Kelly suffered a facial injury when he was checked into the crossbar by Montreal’s Scott Gomez during Boston’s 4-2 victory in Game 3 at the Bell Centre on Monday night.
While his teammates went to Lake Placid, N.Y., for the two-day break between games, Kelly went back to Boston to have the injury looked at by doctors.
They found no fracture and the former Ottawa Senator was back on the ice for the team’s game-day skate Thursday morning wearing facial protection.
“I’m good to play,” said Kelly. “Everything looked good. It just precautionary to put the cage on and just go out and play. It felt good. It wasn’t bad at all.”
“He’ll be in the lineup,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “That’s as plain as I can put it.”
Gomez was given an interference penalty on the play, but Kelly wasn’t asking for any further discipline.
“It was a hockey play,” said Kelly. “I know Gomez and he’s a good, honest player. I don’t think it was intentional at all.”
Halpern missed the final four games of the regular season and wasn’t ready to start the playoffs for Montreal, but he is expected to play on the checking line with Lars Eller and Travis Moen.
Martin would not confirm that it will be the slumping Benoit Pouliot who will sit out.
Halpern was Montreal’s best faceoff man during the regular season and likely will split that duty with Eller during the game.
When asked about the team’s stay in Lake Placid, Julien got a laugh when he said “I saw a miracle.”
That was a reference to that town’s status as host of the 1980 Winter Olympics and the U.S. Miracle On Ice hockey victory.
“We just went there to relax and have some quality practice,” Julien added. “We weren’t looking for any miracles. We just thought it would be a good place to be.”