Just the Facts:
- Game Time: 7:00 PM
- TV Broadcast: NESN, RSNW
- Radio Broadcast: 98.5 The Sports Hub, Sportsnet 960 The Fan
- Rival SB Nation Site: Matchsticks and Gasoline
- Series Record: Bruins 0-0-1 vs. Flames 1-0-0
- Season Record: Bruins 34-23-6, 74 points | Flames 26-32-4, 56 points
The Bruins follow up their trade deadline moves with a game against one of their more recent trade partners, the Calgary Flames. Boston comes into this game sitting at 4th in the Atlantic, behind Florida, Tampa, and Detroit in the Divisional race, and ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Wild Card by only 2 points.
The Bruins are looking to bounce back from their ugly loss against Tampa Bay on Sunday night, which did happen despite most people in America having their eyes on the Oscars, and the majority of Florida asleep by puck drop. The Flames meanwhile are trying to bounce back from a string of ugly losses, as they are 2-7-1 in their last ten games, have lost eight of their last nine coming into TD Garden.
While Boston certainly didn’t look like it on Sunday, the team is actually making a legitimate playoff push in the East. The up & down team has had moments of hope and moments of hurl in their last ten games, going 6-4-0. The frustrating part of it is the wins they’ve racked up and the opponents they’ve faced have no rhyme or reason to them. Beating the Wild and losing to the Wings, drubbing the Stars and giving up a QUOTA to the Columbus Blue Tortorellas. It’s not a matter of a decent team going up against a powerhouse. It’s more a matter of an inconsistent team going up against any opposing hockey team.
But in between moments like Adam McQuaid falling down and Kevan Miller being on the ice for more goals than fingers against Los Angeles, we have skaters like Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and Matt Beleskey to bring us such joy. Despite going 0-for-4 against Tampa, Matt Beleksey has amassed 5 goals in his last five games, and is now at 13 on the year, compared to Milan Lucic, who has just 14 while playing on a better line with more ice time.
Meanwhile, the Marchand/Bergeron combo has just been on fire recently. Since the Bruins’ blown lead against Philly on January 13th, Marchand has a goal in 14 of their 20 games played. Bergeron has been equally as hot, with 15 points in his last 17 games. He’s on pace to have his biggest offensive output since his 70 points in 2007 when he was 21 years old, and might hit 30 goals for the 3rd time in his career.
At the other end of the ice, we welcome Karri Ramo, Jonas Hiller, Johnny Gaudreau, and Dougie Hamilton’s Calgary Flames. The Flames’ seasons was nearly over before it got started, as they lost 10 of their first 13 games, and didn’t have a win in regulation until Halloween. Despite positive stretches, including a 7-game winning streak to start December, the Flames are lingering at the bottom of the NHL’s weakest division, the Pacific.
As expected, the team fell back to earth after last year’s illogical playoff run. Outside of Johnny Gaudreau continuing to be a force in all facets of the game, the roster has been relatively lackluster across the board. Sean Monahan is having a down year, Mark Giordano took some time to recover fully from last year’s injury, and Jiri Hudler was expendable enough to be traded for not very much at all. And then there’s Douglas…
While on the whole his production isn’t too down from last year, he’s not improving as rapidly as many thought he would. He has a negative CF% rel this year for the first time in his career, and while he’s on pace to set a career high in goals, his assist numbers are way down. He’s an offensive defenseman who’s the third-best in that role on his team, and has just one point in his last seven games--a lone assist last night against the Flyers. Would he be one of the best defensemen instantly on the Bruins? Absolutely. But his play hasn’t taken that Drew Doughty or Victor Hedman upswing that many hoped or anticipated.
The Bruins won handily in the category of Best Effort in a Supporting Role of a Tampa Team when they let the Lightning walk all over them on Sunday night. Hopefully their sequel against the Calgary Flames will improve their chances of Best Playoff Picture.