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Need to Know: Bruins at Flames

by Chris Weyant @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

BostonBruins.com - Knowing they were on the brink of losing a critical two points on Monday night against Vancouver, Brad Marchand took matters into his own hands during the third period, scoring the game-tying and go-ahead goals, as well as an empty-netter, in a 6-3 victory over the Canucks.

 

Marchand's hat trick was the first for a Bruin this season, vaulting him to a tie for the NHL lead in goals along side Sidney Crosby with 35.

 

After the Bruins' victory on Monday, they will shoot for their fourth straight win on Wednesday night against the Calgary Flames, one of the hottest teams in hockey, having won their last 10 games.

 

The Bruins will face the Flames for the second and final time this season. Calgary won the first matchup on Nov. 25 at TD Garden 2-1.

 

Puck drop is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. EST on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Here is what you need to know:

 

Back on The Right Track

 

The Bruins (37-26-6, 80 points) were quick to criticize their effort in Ottawa after a 4-2 loss to the Senators last Monday. Since then, the team has rattled off three straight wins, outscoring opponents 14-5 in the process.

 

The Black & Gold's game in Vancouver, however, was the second straight game where they faced some adversity and seemed to fight spells of subpar play through the first 40 minutes.

 

"You've got to win the game in front of you," Interim Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said of the situation his team found themselves in after two periods.

 

"We had to win 2-1 on Saturday and listen, we might have to get four or five to win, so that was the message - sometimes you've got to win a certain way, so when we get back into it, let's play the right way as well, so it doesn't become just trading chances and I thought we did a pretty good job of that."

 

The game plan may not have been to enter the third period trailing by a goal, but the Bruins adjusted well, and Marchand started the comeback just 58 seconds into the third period.

 

Marchand, who has emerged as a Rocket Richard and Art Ross trophy contender, knew how important it was to get off on the right foot during the team's three-game road trip, especially given the current parity in the league.

 

"I'm not going to sit here and say this one will be easier than the next one," said Marchand. "That's not the case in this league - there are no easy games and we found out tonight. We got the job done, had a real good third period and off we go to Calgary."

 

The first half of a back-to-back in Calgary, before the team heads to Edmonton, could be a great barometer for the Bruins. 

 

The Bruins will look to make it four straight, but will need to snap Calgary's 10-game winning streak to do so.

 

Opposing View: Calgary Flames

 

The Flames (39-26-4, 82 points) have emphatically staked a likely claim on a playoff slot in the Western Conference with their 10 straight victories, currently sitting in the second slot in the Pacific Division, tied with Anaheim at 82 points, but holding the regulation win tiebreaker.

 

Head Coach Glen Gulutzan will attempt to keep his team firing on all cylinders against another one of the hottest teams in hockey on Wednesday night.

 

Calgary has done a stellar job keeping the puck out of their own net over their win streak. They have allowed two or fewer goals in all but one of their 10 victories.

 

Chad Johnson and Brian Elliott have served as the two backstops for the Flames. Both goaltenders have performed well, allowing Gulutzan to split duties between the two and keep both fresh for the impending stretch run.

 

Three former Bruins are skating on the back end for the Flames. Dougie Hamilton and Dennis Wideman have been a huge part of the defense core that has helped propel Calgary, and Matt Bartkowski rounds out Calgary's blueline.

 

The Flames have six players who have eclipsed the 40-point mark. Their balanced attack, led by former Boston College standout Johhny Gaudreau (15 goals and 34 assists), has created major mismatches for teams who cannot matchup with all four forward lines.

 

"For us, as a team, just keep playing the way we've been playing these last 10 games," Gaudreau said, of what the team needs to do to compete against Boston. "Don't get too high on ourselves, because I think that's the worst thing you can do, when you feel confident and complacent." 

 

Calgary ranks 17th in the NHL in goals for (2.71 goals per game) and is 13th in the NHL in goals allowed (2.65 goals per game). 

 

Wait, there's more

 

Ryan Spooner could make his return to the lineup on Wednesday night, after missing the last three games in his recovery from a concussion.
Anton Khudobin is slated to start between the pipes in Calgary for the first leg of the back-to-back.

•   With the victory over Vancouver on Monday night, Tuukka Rask secured his 200 th career NHL victory. He sits fourth all-time on the career wins list among Bruins goaltenders, 29 shy of Gary Cheevers for third all-time, and 52 wins shy of Tiny Thompson for the most wins all-time.

•   Wednesday will mark the 105th career meeting between the Bruins and the Flames. The Bruins hold a 57-33-10-4 record against Calgary.

 

 

 

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