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Bruins forward Kelly out 6-8 months after leg injury

by Matt Kalman / NHL.com

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins forward Chris Kelly is expected to miss 6-8 months after fracturing his left femur in the first period of a 5-3 loss to the Dallas Stars at TD Garden on Tuesday.

Kelly left 1:40 into the game and was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital. He will have surgery Wednesday.

Kelly, who had two goals in 11 games, was not hit before he went down near the Stars bench and grasped his left leg.

"Well, you hope we can somehow compensate for his loss, but I think people are going to realize how important he is to our hockey club, not just on the ice but also in the dressing room and around the team," Bruins coach Claude Julien. "He's a guy that is extremely respected by his teammates, and on the ice he's given us everything we've asked for.

"He's been moved around in all different positions, never says a word, but just thrives on the opportunity to play in those spots that we've put him. He was a very versatile player that we really counted on. No doubt he'll be missed."

The Bruins acquired Kelly from the Ottawa Senators on Feb. 5, 2011. He helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup that June and two years later was a major factor in their run to a second Stanley Cup Final in three seasons.

The 34-year-old has 43 goals and 101 points in 288 games for Boston. But his value to the Bruins is hardly measured in statistics. He's been a key member of the penalty kill since his arrival and has been an alternate captain since the 2011-12 season.

"That's really tough," Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. "He's such a big part of our team. He's a huge leader in the room and on the ice and he's been playing very well this year. It's really tough any time you see a friend and a teammate go out with an injury like that. It's really tough to swallow [and] it's a big void to fill."

Kelly can become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

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