Chris Kelly took another encouraging step forward on Sunday as he slid back into his customary spot centering the third line, and had Tyler Seguin and Daniel Paille on either side of him. Kelly has missed 14 games with a broken left tibia and wasn’t ready to play Saturday night against the Montreal Canadiens in a game for first place in the Northeast Division.

That also meant that he wasn’t going to be watching much of a game that ended with a bitter 2-1 defeat at the hands of the hated Habs.

“I don’t want to watch, to be honest, but these guys have been playing great,” said Kelly, who has difficulty watching the actual games he’s missing with injury because he can’t help contribute to the outcome. “Guys have stepped up with [Bergeron] out and they’ve done in the past. Guys have shown that we’re a team and they help each other out.”

But the 32-year-old has indicated that he’ll back at some point this week after returning as a full participant to practice last week after missing the last month due to a broken left tibia. That could come as soon as Monday night when the Bruins host the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden, and the Bruins could sorely use his two-way skills and face-off abilities with Patrice Bergeron out of the lineup with a concussion.

Claude Julien continues to push forward with his third line pivot as a “day-to-day” situation while on the mend from a broken leg, and Kelly thinks that could mean a debut this week.

“I’m hoping that it’s sooner rather than later,” said Chris Kelly. “It’s a fine line between pushing and being reckless. But it’s feeling better and we’ll see how it feels on Monday.

“[Playing next week] is what I’m hoping for, but we’ll see what happens. When I was lying on the ice, I thought ‘I could be in trouble here’ because it could have been much worse. I’m just glad I’ll get the chance to play again at some point this year.”