(Bob DeChiari / USA Today Sports)
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The Calgary Flames are in Beantown tonight to face the Boston Bruins. It’s the fourth game of their season-high six game road trip. They’ve won two outta three so far and, as Meatloaf so eloquently put it, that’s not bad. They’ll face a Bruins club that played lost last night in Ottawa and is hoping for a much better effort on home ice.
Start your weekend off right, with a 5:30 p.m. MT Flames game on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!
Lines via Daily Faceoff:
Coming off yet another win (and shutout) on Wednesday, Chad Johnson makes his 11th start of the season. He’s been the better goalie for the Flames so far this season, and just exudes calmness in net.
Mark Jankowski’s summoning from the AHL is a pretty obvious indication that Kris Versteeg might miss some time with whatever new (or old) injury is ailing him. He’s a game-time decision tonight. If he does miss time, he’ll (re)join Ladislav Smid, Johnny Gaudreau and Lance Bouma on the sidelines. Jankowski isn’t expected to play tonight, as Hunter Shinkaruk rotates back in most likely.
It’s Dougie Hamilton’s second game back in Boston since the trade last summer. Last season’s game was a swirl of media attention and chaos, while this year’s visit is seemingly much more sedate. It helps that Boston played in another city last night.
The key to victory for the Flames? Just do what they did in Columbus. Keep the game simple, stay out of the box, and don’t give up too many crazy chances.
Lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
It’s the second game of a back-to-back, so the Flames likely see back-up Zane McIntyre in net unless the Bruins decide to double-down and go back with Tuukka Rask. One of them (Rask) is obviously a tougher match-up.
UPDATE: McIntyre has been sent to the minors (as Anton Khudobin returns from his AHL conditioning stint). This seems to indicate that Rask is starting again tonight.
The Bruins lost to Ottawa 3-1 last night and then flew home, so the Flames are the fresher team despite being knee-deep in a long road trip. Boston is currently missing Anton Khudobin, Frank Vatrano, Noel Acciari, and Zdeno Chara.
This is the 104th regular season game between Boston and the Flames. All-time, the Flames have struggled against the Bruins: they are 36-57-10, their worst record against any NHL franchise. They played twice last season, with the teams splitting the games. They’ll play again in Calgary in March.
Remember January 5, 2012? The Flames lost in Boston 9-0. Chris Butler was -7. Leland Irving gave up six goals. Mikael Backlund and T.J. Brodie are the surviving members of that Flames club. (Mark Giordano and Matt Stajan were both injured for that game.)
KNOW THY ENEMY
Some Bruins follows for y’all tonight:
SUM IT UP
The Flames can guarantee a .500 road trip with a victory tonight. They don’t usually play well against the Bruins, but they’re facing a team that played last night in another city, while they’re rested. They won’t get a much better set-up for success than they have tonight.