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Bruins Address Needs, Preview Vs. Flames

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Although it ended with a thud, the Bruins’ Western Canadian road trip was a successful one. A trip that started in New York and ended in Vancouver saw the Bruins go 3-1-0. Tonight, with the trip and the trade deadline behind them, the Bruins (39-12-12, 90 points) return to TD Garden to host the Calgary Flames (32-25-6, 70 points). It is the second and final meeting between the sides this season.

Puck drop is set for 7:00 pm on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Ritchie Makes Debut, Kase Will Wait

The Bruins made one trade on Monday ahead of the annual NHL Trade Deadline. The club sent forward Danton Heinen to Anahiem in exchange for Nick Ritchie. The addition of Ritchie gives the Bruins a bigger body to plug into their top nine forward group. A body capable of putting the puck in the net and who has prior experience in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“We do believe he adds an element to our hockey club that we didn’t have prior to today,” GM Don Sweeney said on Monday. “We’re happy about it. There’s some big-bodied hockey that’s going to be played going forward and I think that he’s a part of that.”

Ritchie wasn’t the only addition that the Bruins made in recent days. The club made a trade with the Ducks on Friday as well. In that deal, Ondrej Kase joined the Bruins. Kase is still on the mend and will not play tonight against the Flames. The Bruins are still excited about his addition, however.

“He’s a good player,” said David Krejci. “He can skate, he can play…he’s fast, he can score. Hopefully he’ll fit in well and help the team…met him once last year in Prague. We hung out and had a good time.”

With Ritchie’s power forward game and Kase’s skill now in the lineup, the Bruins are content with how their roster will look as they head towards the playoffs. The hope is, this mix of players will result in yet another deep run.

“I like our team, I like our makeup, I like our competitiveness, goaltending, balance in our group. Great team defense. We still score. Special teams are solid, so there’s really not a lot to complain about,” said coach Bruce Cassidy on Monday.

Nordstrom, Miller Updates

Many were wondering why Joakim Nordstrom did not play in both Calgary and Vancouver. Cassidy put the speculation to bed on Monday when he confirmed to the media that Nordstrom has been a healthy scratch. Nordstrom has dealt with multiple injuries and illnesses through the season and has yet to get into a rhythm.

“He hasn’t played, to me, as well as he did last year – or as consistent,” Cassidy said on Monday. “Some of that is injury, some of it was just some freaky stuff that happened to him this year. He’s in, he’s out, he’s in, he’s out. Now he’s healthy and in competition to get in. We’re looking at what the best lineup will be for us now and going forward.”

Nordstrom has been a mainstay, when healthy, with Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner on the Bruins’ fourth line since signing as a free agent.

Kevan Miller, meanwhile, took the ice on Monday morning. He participated in a pre-practice skate with skills coach Kim Brandvold. Miller has been out with lower-body issues since last spring.

“He’s on a progression that we’re going to not deviate from, and where Kevan continues to make strides we’ll have to evaluate week-to-week,” said Sweeney. “As far as staying on IR, he doesn’t need to stay on IR, but that’s where he will remain until he’s ready to play.”

Flames Ignite

Friday night’s 4-3 loss against the Bruins was a disaster for the Flames. After scoring the fastest three goals to open a game in franchise history, the Flames blew a 3-1 lead before the midway point of the game. They never regained the lead and showed serious frustration postgame.

Fortunately for them, the lowly Detroit Red Wings were next on the schedule. Calgary scored an easy 4-2 win in Detroit on Sunday night to get back into the win column. The win also pushed them back into a playoff spot in the competitive Western Conference.

“We started the way we wanted, we started on time and were able to get out to the lead,” Flames coach Geoff Ward said postgame. “I thought we were fine through two, and we probably would have liked to have been better than what we were in the third, but all in all… with everything that you talk about and potential trap games and all that stuff, I thought the guys did a good job sticking with it and finding a way.”

The Flames made two deals on Monday. They acquired defenseman Derek Forbort from the Los Angeles Kings and defenseman Erik Gustafsson from the Chicago Blackhawks. In both cases, the Flames only moved mid-round draft picks.

Boston Bruins Lines

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Karson Kuhlman
Anders Bjork – Charlie Coyle – Nick Ritchie
Sean Kuraly – Par Lindholm – Chris Wagner

Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Jeremy Lauzon

Tuukka Rask

Bruins lines against the Flames are subject to change. Rask will get the start tonight, per Cassidy. Connor Clifton, John Moore, Anton Blidh and Joakim Nordstrom will be the healthy scratches in this contest. Both Kase and Miller are injured and not yet ready to join the lineup.

Calgary Flames Lines

Johnny Gaudreau – Sean Monahan – Elias Lindholm
Andrew Mangiapane – Mikael Backlund – Matthew Tkachuk
Milan Lucic – Derek Ryan – Dillon Dube
Sam Bennett – Mark Jankowski – Tobias Rieder

Mark Giordano – T.J. Brodie
Noah Hanifin – Rasmus Andersson
Derek Forbort – Erik Gustafsson

David Rittich

Flames lines are subject to change versus the Bruins. David Rittich is the expected goaltender, as he took the starter’s crease at the Flames morning skate. Oliver Kylington and Michael Stone are the likely scratches on defense to make room for Forbort and Gustafsson. Zac Rinaldo is also unlikely to play tonight. Travis Hamonic remains out with an injury

Alex is a 2016 graduate of Springfield College who is currently a writer with Boston Hockey Now and The Oilers Rig. Outside of writing, you can find Alex in rinks around New England as the Play-by-Play voice of the USPHL’s Boston Junior Bruins. In addition, he does broadcasting work for Northeastern University, Holy Cross And UMass-Lowell. Reach him on Twitter: @Alex_Thomas14

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