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Flames defenseman Russell questionable vs. Bruins

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com

BRUINS (13-8-2) at FLAMES (9-14-2)

TV: NESN, SNF

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames defenseman Kris Russell is questionable to play against the Boston Bruins on Friday.

Russell, who has played through an upper-body injury sustained in the first period of Calgary's 2-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Nov. 20, hasn't practiced this week and was absent from an optional morning skate at Scotiabank Saddledome.

"We'll make decisions this afternoon," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "I told everyone to be ready. From [Brandon] Bollig to [Josh] Jooris to everyone. We have a few guys that are banged up so we'll see."

Russell leads the NHL with 83 blocked shots, and has one goal and six points in 25 games.

He played a career-high 79 games in 2014-15 and set an NHL record with 283 blocked shots.

"That's the identity we want for our group; guys who will do whatever it takes," Calgary captain Mark Giordano said. "There's no questioning that with [Russell]. He's always been a guy who will play through a lot. He doesn't say much and doesn't complain ever.

"He's a guy who lays it out there every night. You see the way he plays every game, game-in, game-out. Sometimes you take that for granted but we don't in here."

Dougie Hamilton, Russell's defense partner, will play the Bruins for the first time since being traded to the Flames on June 26.

"For me it's already past. I've moved on," Hamilton said. "I'm enjoying my time here and everything like that. I think it'll be fun tonight and hopefully we can win.

"I think there's always going to be a bit of Boston in me. I'm thankful for everything that they gave me. You spend a couple years really cheering for them and you dream about putting that jersey on when you get drafted. You spend a couple years like that, and when it changes it takes a while. I still like the [Bruins] and guys on their team. But just hopefully not tonight."

Boston forward Patrice Bergeron said Hamilton was a great teammate.

"He was a young guy coming in trying to learn his way around things," Bergeron said. "He's a guy that has a lot of talent. Great player and I wish him all the best."

The Bruins had a five-game winning streak snapped Tuesday in the opener of a three-game Western Canada trip, losing 3-2 in a shootout to the Edmonton Oilers.

Boston will complete the trip against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.

"We just have to get back on track playing our style and playing our game," Bergeron said. "We're playing two tough games back-to-back. Having a good, strong first game is definitely always important when you're playing two games in a row like that."

Here are the projected lineups:

BRUINS

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Brett Connolly

Matt Beleskey - David Krejci - Loui Eriksson

Frank Vatrano - Ryan Spooner - Jimmy Hayes

Zac Rinaldo - Joonas Kemppainen - Tyler Randell

Zdeno Chara - Zach Trotman

Dennis Seidenberg - Colin Miller

Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid

Jonas Gustavsson

Tuukka Rask

Injured: Chris Kelly (leg), Kevan Miller (concussion), David Pastrnak (foot)

Scratched: Joe Morrow, Landon Ferraro

FLAMES

Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - David Jones

Sam Bennett - Markus Granlund - Jiri Hudler

Joe Colborne - Mikael Backlund - Michael Frolik

Brandon Bollig - Matt Stajan - Micheal Ferland

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Deryk Engelland - Dougie Hamilton

Ladislav Smid - Dennis Wideman

Injured: Lance Bouma (broken leg), Kris Russell (upper body)

Scratched: Mason Raymond, Josh Jooris

Status report: The Bruins and Flames held optional skates Friday. … Boston coach Claude Julien didn't disclose his goaltender against Calgary. "I've got two of them," Julien said. "Both of them are really reliable."… Ramo will start for the 14th time in the past 15 games.

Who's hot: Bergeron has one goal and two assists in a two-game scoring-streak and 12 points in his past 11 games. … Gaudreau has two goals and four points in his past five games.

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