Boston Bruins forward, Chris Kelly, went down by himself by the Dallas Stars bench in the first matchup of the year between the two teams. Kelly intercepted a pass by the Dallas blue line and was going to rush into the attacking zone, his leg twisted and he went down immediately grabbing the area around his knee.
The trainers quickly attended to the injured forward who laid on the ice for some time before being helped off the ice by captain Zdeno Chara and training staff.
Kelly has two goals in 11 games this year with the Bruins. He was a big leader in the locker room and a major part of the penalty kill. Without him in the lineup for almost the whole game on Tuesday, the Bruins already idle penalty kill surrendered three goals on four attempts. With the injury, Chris Kelly's season, and also Bruins career, may be over. Picked up from the Ottawa Senators in 2010-11 for the Bruins' Stanley Cup run and eventual win, number 23 becomes a free agent at the end of the season.
Kelly rarely fills up the score sheet or dazzles with highlight reel plays, but he's a leader and a character guy in the locker room. His absence will be felt throughout the entire organization. Maxime Talbot has been recalled from the Providence Bruins, Boston's AHL affiliate, today to try and fill the void. With his season in the books, the already thin defensive presence of the Bruins, it might make them apt to a trade or two to try and bulk some weak spots on the roster. Going through a "re-tool," the absence of a key defensive and versatile forward can be costly.
The 34-year-old impending free-agent had three of his last four seasons cut short by injuries, this time just three seconds into his first shift of the night. Just like every other time, his void won't be easily filled. The Bruins, one point out of second place in the Atlantic Division, start their Kelly-less journey on Thursday versus the Washington Capitals in Washington kicking off a three-game road trip.