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Bruins Look to Respond Against Flames in Second Game of Road Swing

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

CALGARY - The Bruins posted an 8-1-3 record in January, before winning just one of their last five games in the month of February.

They have lost three straight games in regulation for the first time since a skid in early December. They have not lost four consecutive games this season.

So, is Boston the January team, or that December team?

"Well, I'm going to hope we're the February team," Chris Kelly quickly stated, following the Bruins' pregame skate at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday. "I don't want to look back and say we want to be this team, or that team."

"You need to live in the moment and learn from your mistakes. When you play 82 games, there's going to be some bad ones, and there's going to be some good ones. And you need to refocus and not have too many bad ones in a row, and come to work."

The Bruins are hoping to leave those bad ones behind as they face the Calgary Flames on Monday night in the second game of their five-game road swing against Western Conference opponents.

"We're one game in and it obviously wasn't our best game in Vancouver," Kelly said of the 5-2 loss to the Canucks on Friday, in which the Bruins' self-inflicted turnovers and mistakes cost them. "So I thought we had a good practice [Sunday] and a good skate this morning, and there's some areas of our game that we want to correct, and tonight's an opportunity to do that."

"We know what we need to do, we know how we need to play to have success and it comes down to us to go out there and execute, and play the way we can."

With the awareness about what needs to be done, Julien is looking for that response.

"I think that goes without saying, right? I think that we need to be better, it's pretty obvious," Julien drove home. "And I think you guys have all been around and heard me say what some of the issues are, and that hasn't changed, so it's up to us to change that, change the outcome and change the things that have been hurting us."

"That's the best way to respond, is to show emotion or reaction, guys waking up and realizing that in here," said Daniel Paille. "So we have to come together and really pull out a good stretch these last 20 or so games."

Despite the recent stumble, Boston has remained in a playoff position, sitting in the second Wild Card spot in the East as the Florida Panthers keep hovering, just three points behind.

Kelly wasn't shy about his team already being in a playoff mindset.

"The standings are so tight on both sides, the East and the West, and every point is huge," said Kelly. "I think [in January], we had done a good job getting ourselves back in that playoff position but if you look at it, we're barely there, so there's still lots of work to be done and lots of points to be had."

No Easy Night Against Flames

Like the Bruins, the Flames are holding onto the second Wild Card spot for a playoff position in the West. They're coming off a strong 3-2 win over the Canucks on Saturday night, in which Flames captain Mark Giordano thought they played one of their best 60-minute efforts.

"I'm really impressed by their work ethic and their commitment to play their game," said Julien. "Short shifts, intense, they drive the net hard, they play at a good pace, so I can see now why they are where they are and in many people's eyes, they seem to have overachieved."

"The coach [Bob Hartley] has done a great job with this team, the players have bought into what they need to do to succeed, so it's pretty obvious when you watch them play."

"They're a hard-working team," said Kelly. "They play the game the right way, all four lines and six D work and they manage the puck well, they drive the net well, and they defend well, so you need to come with your skating legs and be willing to work, to have a chance against them."

Like Kelly, Giordano sees his team in playoff mode.

"I would say that. We don't like to get into the must-win sort of thing right now, because you get too high, too low after every game, we're just trying to have fun with it, but we're in a battle, there's no doubt about it," he said. "There's teams creeping up from behind and teams winning around us all the time, so we've got to keep pace, and try and get as many points as possible."

Changes on Defense Would Be "Game-Time Decision"

After Sunday's practice, Julien had suggested that he might be looking at making switches on defense, possibly just for the sake of change, given the team's recent defensive struggles.

"Probably more game-time decision," Julien said following Monday's pregame skate, of any changes. "I haven't talked to anybody yet, I haven't finalized my decision."

"There could be changes, and we'll see about that in the course of the day. I've got to make a decision here and obviously not till tonight."

Matt Bartkowski stayed on the ice for extra work, as he usually does, with Jordan Caron. If Bartkowski were to slot into the lineup, though, it would mark his first time suiting up in 18 games. He has been a healthy scratch for the past 17 games, last playing on Dec. 31. Bartkowski is a left shot, but both Dennis Seidenberg and Torey Krug have played their off sides when needed. But who would get the night up in the press box? The best indication of lineup decisions will come when warmups begin at 8:30 p.m. ET (follow live updates on Twitter @NHLBruins).

Projected Lineup vs. Calgary Feb. 16

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Reilly Smith

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Loui Eriksson

Chris Kelly - Carl Soderberg - David Pastrnak

Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Craig Cunningham

Zdeno Chara - Dougie Hamilton

Dennis Seidenberg - Adam McQuaid

Torey Krug - Kevan Miller

Starter: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Niklas Svedberg

Scratches: Jordan Caron, Matt Bartkowski

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