FLAMES (18-18-5) at BRUINS (25-10-1)
TV: SNET-West; NESN (HD)
LAST 10: Calgary 4-4-2, Boston 8-2-0
Season Series: It's the only meeting this season. Boston has won the last two games with the Flames, 5-0 at TD Garden in 2009-10 and 3-2 in Calgary last season.
Big Story: The Flames would like to finish their seven-game road trip on a positive note after losing four in a row, but they have to do it against the hottest team in the NHL. For the defending Stanley Cup champs, it's a chance to get another winning streak going after getting their seven-game skein snapped by the Stars on New Year's Eve, but ringing in 2012 with a resounding 6-1 win over the Devils in New Jersey.
Flames : Despite dropping games to the Islanders, Senators and Predators, the Flames went into their road match with the Capitals on Tuesday unfazed, confident that they had risen to the quality of their opponents only a week before, beating the Wild, Red Wings and Canucks in succession.
That started to evaporate 36 seconds into the game when Rene Bourque was called for a holding penalty when he wrapped himself around Dennis Wideman. Alex Ovechkin made the Flames pay 35 seconds after that with a power-play goal, giving the Caps an early lead they never relinquished en route to a 3-1 win.
"I know," he said in the Calgary Herald. "It felt like I was stuck on the boards. Even though it looked like I was holding him, I couldn't really move because my arm was on the other side of him . . . but, yeah, it's a back-breaker. They score right away."
Things didn't get much better for Bourque later in the game, as he caught Nicklas Backstrom with an open-ice elbow to the head, for which Bourque received a five-game suspension from the NHL.
Bruins : All streaks end sometime, and even the Bruins lose once in a while. The difference between them and most teams these days is that they bounce back quickly, steamrolling the Devils 6-1 in Newark on Wednesday. After the Devils got off to a start, the B's pounced quickly and never let up.
"I think that's part of what we went through last year," coach Claude Julien said. "When you're in the playoffs you don't have a choice, you have to have a killer instinct every night, and we definitely built on that and carried it into this year. We understand that you can't let your guard down in this League."
Who's Hot: Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen are tied for the team lead in points, and while Jokinen has tapered off a bit the last few games. Iginla's production is steady at six points in his last six games. His next goal will be his 500th. Curtis Glencross has two goals and an assist in his last three games. … David Krejci extended his points streak to six games with a goal and an assist on Wednesday, while Patrice Bergeron's two goals give him six points in his last five games.
Injury Report: For Calgary, Alex Tanguay (upper body) is still day-to-day while Matt Stajan (ankle) and David Moss (foot) remain out indefinitely. Mark Giordano (hamstring) hopes to start skating soon, while goalie Henrik Karlsson (knee) and Derek Smith (ankle) are looking at February returns at the earliest. … The Bruins attribute much of their depth to health and outside of Marc Savard's season-ending concussion problems, they're not missing anyone.
Stat Pack: The Flames have lost 155 man-games to injury going into Tuesday's action, leading the Western Conference. Only the Penguins (195) and Canadiens (191) have suffered more. … No Bruins player on the active roster has a negative plus/minus rating and five Bruins are in the NHL's top ten, including Tyler Seguin (plus-28) and Brad Marchand (plus-26) at first and second in the League.
Puck Drop: One trait the Bruins have showed all season has been the ability to put away opponents -- as they did Wednesday against New Jersey, when three third-period goals turned a 3-1 game into a rout.
Said Bergeron: "I think this year we're doing a really good job of finding ways to get the big goal, that third goal when you're up 2-1, finding ways to keep going at them instead of just being satisfied with a lead, and that's the biggest thing so far."