BOSTON — The Calgary Flames spent American Thanksgiving in Boston, practicing and resting in preparation for Friday night's game with the Bruins, the fourth game of a six-game road trip.
The Bruins, meanwhile, had to play in Ottawa, where they lost 3-1 Thursday night, creating a back-to-back as the teams get together at TD Garden Friday — Boston's first road game on Thanksgiving Night since 1950.
The Bruins had only 19 shots on Craig Anderson and made all kinds of bad decisions Thursday night.
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“Just one of those flat games and what's most disturbing or what you don't like about it is it's against an Ottawa team that you're one point behind and you needed to win this one,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said on the team's NESN post-game show.”
Asked what message he delivered to his players after the game, Julien, clearly not pleased, said, “There was no message. I think the message was sent between periods tonight. There's lots of time for that — I think after the game it's not always the best time to send a message, but it's no doubt we need to bounce back tomorrow night, we need to have a better outing.”
The Bruins got both leading goal scorer David Pastrnak (upper-body injury) and defenseman Kevan Miller back Thursday night — Miller making his season debut after breaking his hand in a preseason game. But captain and top defenseman Zdeno Chara was out with a lower-body injury suffered Tuesday night. He isn't supposed to be able to go Friday; and the Bruins are right back at it with a Sunday home matinee with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Pastrnak, who missed three games with an upper-body injury, scored his 11th goal of the season on the power play in the first period Thursday. For the second straight game, the Bruins scored first and for the second straight game, they lost.
“We didn't have enough guys going tonight and you don't win these important games if you don't have everybody going,” Julien said. “It's pretty obvious tonight we didn't have that.”
Calgary's Chris Versteeg, who returned from a nine-game absence with a groin strain and set up the first goal a 2-0 win at Columbus, left Thursday's practice at Boston University and is doubtful for Friday night.
“I'm not sure,” Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan said when asked for an update. “I haven't talked to our guys yet — I stayed out with some guys later — I haven't talked to them. But he left and I don't think that's a good sign when you leave practice half-way through.”
Wednesday night, veteran Chad Johnson stopped 34 shots to quiet both the Blue Jackets (they scored 10 goals at home against the Montreal Canadiens and eight against the St. Louis Blues) and the cannon that goes off when Columbus scores.
“I think everybody gets pretty startled when they hear that thing go off. It's a pretty loud boom,” Johnson said after his sixth career shutout, but second in his last five starts. “And they've put up some goals this year, for sure, and that thing has gone off a lot. But the win is the most important thing. The shutout is just the icing on the cake.”
Johnson, playing for his sixth team in as many years, is 6-3-1 with a 2.08 goals against average and .922 save percentage.
“I thought he just played fantastic,” Gulutzan said Wednesday, after his team won for the second time in three games on the current trip and for the third time in the last four road games overall.
Calgary and Boston split a pair of games last year, both winning at home, but the Bruins picked up three of a possible four points by losing in overtime at Calgary on Dec. 4.