Game Day Preview: Bruins vs. Flames
The Bruins haven’t exactly looked sharp in the last two games, but they still wound up going 1-1 in that span. That subpar play will have to change Tuesday night as the Calgary Flames come into TD Garden with one of the best road marks in the National Hockey League (16-6-5).
Whether it was head-scratching decisions, sloppy puck handling, scrambling around their own end or giving up odd-man rushes, the Bruins haven’t looked nearly as flawless as they did during their hot four-month stretch of play. They had a rare stinker against the lowly Sabres Saturday night and had some fortunate bounces go their way 24 hours later in New Jersey resulting in a 5-3 win over the Devils.
“We spoke about it in here that you never want to get complacent,” Charlie McAvoy said following Tuesday’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena.
“It’s kind of the big thing for us that we want to play hard every night and we don’t want to let complacency slip into our game. We had a little bit of that against Buffalo and even a little bit of that against New Jersey, so we want to get back to the way we play when we’re playing our best, which is to wear teams down and play with our strategy. So we’re hoping to do that tonight.”
On a night where the Bruins are honoring the historic 1977-78 squad and their record 11 20-goal scorers, the Black and Gold hope to anything but complacent. A win could put McAvoy and company just one point behind the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning, who are playing their second road game of a back-to-back in Buffalo Tuesday.
Bruins fans: are you looking for affordable parking to see the B’s take on Dougie Hamilton and the rest of the Flames Tuesday night? Then head over Constitution Wharf (1 Constitution Rd.) – a short walk to TD Garden – and avoid the traffic and construction on Causeway St. Mention Bruins Daily at the entrance and get a prepaid rate of $12!
Gametime: 7 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 34-12-8 (76 points), Flames 29-19-8 (66 points)
Location: TD Garden
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk-David Krejci-Ryan Spooner
Danton Heinen-Riley Nash-David Backes
Tim Schaller-Sean Kuraly-Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara-Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug-Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk-Adam McQuaid
Flames projected lines
Johnny Gaudreau-Sean Monahan-Michael Ferland
Matthew Tkachuk-Mikael Backlund-Michael Frolik
Sam Bennett-Mark Jankowski-Garnet Hathaway
Ryan Lomberg-Matt Stajan-Curtis Lazar
Mark Giordano-Dougie Hamilton
T.J. Brodie-Travis Hamonic
Brett Kulak-Michael Stone
– The Bruins top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak can’t be perfect all the time. The trio only got on the scoreboard once in the last two games while allowing three goals against at five-on-five. To put that in perspective, the top trio entered the weekend allowing just two five-on-five goals. They’ll have another tough task going up against the Flames dynamic duo of Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, but as always, one can expect Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak to be at their best, particularly after their past couple of performances against the Sabres and Devils.
– One of the good things that came out of this weekend was Tim Schaller’s versatility. The versatile fourth liner added a shorthanded tally in the first period of Sunday’s win over the Devils to give him his third goal in five games. Schaller has already surpassed his career high in points — set last season — with 15 and is an ideal candidate for NESN’s ‘7th Player Award’ given to the Bruin who performs beyond expectations. Whether it’s being reliable on the penalty kill or providing energy on the fourth line, Schaller is doing everything that Bruce Cassidy asks, and that’s all anyone can ask for.