It won’t be easy for the Bruins as they go through Western Canada missing six of their regular players in the lineup. The latest body to drop was Daniel Paille being lost to an upper body injury suffered Sunday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and that necessitated the call to Providence for Nick Johnson as an emergency re-call.
Add that to Chris Kelly, Adam McQuaid, Loui Eriksson, Shawn Thornton (suspension) and Dougie Hamilton already out of the Black and Gold lineup, and they’re featuring a lot of P-Bruins in their lineup.
The good news for Boston: The Flames have also been beset by injuries, and will be suiting up plenty of their own AHL talent on Tuesday night at the Saddledome.
“We’ve been hit with a little bit of the flu bug here, so we’ve got a few guys that are battling that. We think it’s maybe a 48-hour flu thing,” said Julien. “We’ve got a lot of challenges on this road trip. With all of our challenges, we have to be ready to take on a team that’s going to come at us pretty hard.”
Julien could say that again. Kevan Miller, Zdeno Chara, Chad Johnson and Gregory Campbell were all kept away from practice on Monday with flu-like symptoms, but are all expected to play on Tuesday night. While all of the focus will clearly be on Jarome Iginla’s return to Calgary -- as it should be -- for the first time since he was traded to the Penguins last spring, it will also be about the walking wounded road trip that it’s turned out to be for Boston.
PLAYER NEEDING HIS TIRED PUMPED: At this point it’s probably Matt Fraser and Ryan Spooner that need some good old-fashioned tire-pumping, as injuries all across the front line will be thrusting those two players into positions where they’ll need to produce. Fraser and Spooner played less than 10 minutes of ice time in the game against the Maple Leafs on Sunday night after a whirlwind trip from Providence. One would hope and expect to see both of the young guys show their games against an equally undermanned Flames team featuring more than a few players from their AHL club as well.
DRESSING ROOM MANTRA HEADED INTO THE GAME: “It’s the first time we’ve ever had a player that was this popular somewhere else come and play for us. To be honest with you, I’m really looking forward to it.” – Claude Julien, on the approach with future Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla returning to Calgary on Tuesday night.
KEY MATCHUP: It will be like a Dartmouth College hockey team scrimmage on Tuesday night with Big Green forward Nick Johnson stepping in for an injured Daniel Paille in the B’s lineup after his emergency recall from Providence, and Lee Stempniak, David Jones and possibly T.J. Galiardi all suiting up for the Flames. Should be plenty of big words spoken on the ice and crossword puzzles finished between morning skate and game time in both dressing rooms based on the Ivy League brain power.
STAT TO WATCH: 525 – That's the number of goals that Jarome Iginla scored as a member of the Calgary Flames, making him the franchise’s career leader.
INJURIES: Dougie Hamilton (lower body) and Daniel Paille (upper body injury) are out for Tuesday night’s game against Calgary. Chris Kelly (fractured right fibula), Loui Eriksson (concussion) and Adam McQuaid (groin) are on injured reserve, and also out for the Bruins. Johnny Boychuk had missed two games with a sprained back, but is expected back in the lineup on Tuesday night.
Curtis Glencross (sprained MCL), Sean Monahan (fractured foot), Dennis Wideman (broken hand) and T.J. Galiardi (back spasms) are on injured reserve. Galiardi skated with the Flames Monday for the first time since his injury.
GOALTENDING MATCH-UP: Tuukka Rask was saved the chore of playing three games in four days with travel when Chad Johnson stepped in to play Sunday night -- and won -- against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Rask will be back in for the Bruins against a Flames team that he’s not all that familiar with, and will be looked to step up with six B’s skaters expected to be out of the lineup. His only start against the Flames was a 9-0 win for the Bruins when he pitched a 25-save shutout.
Reto Berra made 30 saves in an overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers over the weekend, and will get the start against the Bruins. Berra has been a nice story as an NHL rookie, and is 4-6-2 with a 3.28 goals against average and .894 save percentage behind a pretty suspect 'D' corps for Calgary.