December 17 2013 12:00PM
Pic Via Beetlebrox
For the second consecutive Tuesday, the Flames will take on the Bruins (22-9-2) and this time, thanks to more casualties from the flu and Bob Hartley's crazed worldview, the roster looks as though it will be held together with duct tape.
The last time that the Flames visited Boston, it was uh, not pretty. Leland Irving started that game and was chased in what became an absolute thrashing. The game finished 9-0 and Chris Butler and Jay Bouwmeester were a combined -12. Yowza. No wonder Jarome was hesitant to head there at the deadline.
So far, the Flames have played very well on this road trip, taking three out of a possible four in a back to back stretch against Buffalo and New York. However, this week's competition will be exceedingly tough for the Flames with dates against Boston, Detroit, and Pittsburgh, so it could be a bumpy week folks.
Word out of Boston is that the flu has depleted the already damaged Flames roster by claiming Mike Cammalleri
and possibly Lee Stempniak as well. Well, apparently Stempniak is a healthy scratch and not a victim of the great influenza epidemic of 2013. This is frankly a mind-boggling decision. Stempniak has been one of the most consistent performers for the Flames all season long even though he has struggled to score in the past few games.
In their last six road games, the Flames have a rather impressive 4-1-1 record, largely thanks to their vastly improved defensive play. The Flames will need to be strong defensively again tonight if they want a prayer of beating this Boston team in their barn.
The Line rushes this morning were as follows:
- Hudler - Stajan - Galiaridi
- Glencross - Monahan - D. Jones
- Byron - Backlund - B. Jones
- Bouma - Colborne - McGrattan
- Russell - Brodie
- Giordano - Smid
- O'Brien - Butler
Cammalleri didn't even leave the hotel for the morning skate so I would think that he is very questionable to play tonight, though I suppose crazier things have happened, including Jiri Hudler scoring an OT winner despite being flu-stricken as well. That means that both David Jones and T.J Galiardi will draw back into the lineup tonight which is a pretty significant downgrade from Stempniak and Cammalleri.
Joe Colborne has been seeing fourth-line minutes for the past few games, giving Backlund an opportunity to play more minutes with slightly better linemates. Backlund's play, and subsequently his offensive production, has greatly improved since moving up in the lineup.
Despite a good stretch of games from Ramo, Berra gets the start tonight and has a chance to erase the two softies he allowed in the third against Boston last week. I have no problem with Berra getting the start tonight, though I think that Ramo has essentially proven that he should be given the starter's role. Hopefully Berra can re-kindle the magic that he conjured during his first NHL win in Chicago.
pic via Slidingsideways
The Bruins are looking to beat the Flames for the fifth straight time and improve upon their 13-3-2 record at home. In their last game, the Bruins were humiliated 6-2 in Vancouver and Jarome Iginla re-assembled his finger after a fight because he is a man.
Here is the roster courtesy of Dailyfaceoff.com:
- Lucic - Krejci - Iginla
- Marchand - Bergeron - Smith
- Soderberg - Spooner- Fraser
- Johnson - Campbell - Caron
- Chara - Boychuk
- Seidenberg - Krug
- Bartkowski - Miller
The bottom six of the Bruins roster, with the exception of Gregory Campbell, is pretty young at the moment with the Thornton mega-suspension and the injury to Loui Eriksson. The Bruins do boast one of the best first line's in the NHL and have the best faceoff man on the planet with Patrice Bergeron.
In the last meeting against the Flames, Bergeron ate Backlund's lunch for him, beating him in every single one of their eight faceoffs. Bergeron is really good, and the Flames (who are not alone in this respect) simply do not have a centreman who can compete with him in the circle.
The Bruins have been getting great production from Reilly Smith, whom was acquired from the Dallas Stars in the Jagr trade. Smith has 23 points in 33 games so far this season and has provided the Bruins with much needed secondary scoring, especially in the wake of the Eriksson injury.
The Bruins are a big, strong team who can punch you in the face and score six goals in a game as well. The Flames had success for the first two periods of last Tuesday's game, forcing the Bruins to chip and chase and denying the Bruins clean entries for the most part.
However, the Flames could not hold on in the third (shockingly) and the Bruins scored two quick goals and that was it. Calgary will need a complete 60 of defensively strong, and basically boring, hockey to have a chance in this one.
This Bruins tilt won't have the emotional impact of last Tuesday's Iggypalooza but hopefully the Flames can come into a really tough building and prove that they can compete with Boston again.
This game was going to be tough but without Cammalleri and possibly Stempniak, the Flames are going to be seriously out-gunned. The Flames will have to try to drag Boston into the mud this game and frustrate them in the same way that they did for 40 minutes last Tuesday.
Puck drop is at 5p.m MT on SNET West.