Chris Kelly  has been activated from injured reserve and is expected to return to the Bruins’ lineup Tuesday night against the Panthers. Bruins coach Claude Julien  told reporters in New York Monday that the B’s expected him to play the second game of the team’s back-to-back.
Kelly has been out since Dec. 7 with a broken fibula. The recovery was a frustrating one for Kelly, who beat his anticipated recovery time last season when he came back from a broken tibia in a little less than a month.
The Bruins’ third line center and assistant captain had been having a fine season prior to suffering his injury on a slash from Penguins  forward Pascal Dupuis. He had three goals and four assists for seven points and a minus-1 rating, but had centered a trio with Carl Soderberg and Reilly Smith that had performed well for a third line.
Since Kelly’s injury, Smith has seized the second-line right wing job, with Loui Eriksson playing on the third line since his return from his second concussion of the season. As such, Kelly can be expected to center Soderberg and Eriksson. Soderberg had centered the third line the last two games with Daniel Paille  playing the left wing, but Kelly’s return will likely move Soderberg back to the wing. Ryan Spooner was a healthy scratch Monday and will likely remain one with Kelly’s return.
With Kelly back, Paille will likely move back to the fourth line, which would force Jordan Caron out of the lineup. Anticipated lines with Kelly in would look like this:
Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Soderberg – Kelly – Eriksson
Paille – Campbell – Thornton
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