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Bruins At Blues Preview: Jaskin In, Chara Out

The Bruins will be missing their beast of a defenseman while Jaskin will be in the lineup for someone or another.

Jared Wickerham

Zdeno Chara was named as Slovakia's Olympic flag-bearer, apparently because Slovakia wanted their flag higher than everyone else's, so he will not be in the game tonight. Don't think his teammates are jealous of his early escape, though - we've all seen photos of what's going on in Sochi right now, and Big Z will be sleeping on 20 villagers' pillows tonight while a stray dog licks his feet or something.

The last ten games have been stronger for the Bruins (7-2-1) than the Blues (5-4-1). Many of the NHL's teams beneath St. Louis in the standings would kill to have the Blues' current record, but right now they're in a funk. Tuesday's 5-4 shootout loss against the Ottawa Senators was flat-out embarrassing, and the team's inability to score on the powerplay coupled with some wonky goals compounded their usual problem: they didn't play the whole damn game.

They're going to have to play the whole game tonight, because despite the fact that the Bruins are in the Eastern Conference, they're good, and they're scary. The Blues are just the same, but that's when they don't start playing fancy hockey when they feel that they have a game "under control." Guess what - Tuesday's game wasn't under control, and neither was Saturday's game against the Predators. That game had a different outcome, but some regular-time heroics were required of the Blues to even get the game to OT, let alone a shootout. Both were games where that was totally unnecessary.

Jaroslav Halak is looking to redeem himself tonight after allowing four goals on 32 shots Tuesday. His run prior to that was solid - he allowed six goals in four games. Maybe Saturday was Jaro's hiccup game, and he'll be back on track tonight. It doesn't matter, though, if the Blues don't focus and think that they have something locked up that isn't.

David Backes became the Blues' second 20 goal scorer Tuesday night, and Vladimir Tarasenko's just two away from that, so keep your eyes peeled for him to probably have a decent night - heck, two more games and he gets to show off in the Olympics, and his dorm'll probably be a little nicer than Chara's.