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Winter Classic warmup highlights Thursday's sked

NHL.com @NHL
The Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers will meet on Jan. 1 in the 2010 Bridgestone/NHL Winter Classic. But they have three other meetings this season, and the first one takes place Thursday night as part of the NHL's nine-game schedule.

The teams will square off at the Wachovia Center in one of four games at 7 p.m. ET, and will be shown in the United States on the NHL Network The Bruins are coming off a 3-2 home win over Nashville, while the Flyers haven't played since Friday, when they lost 4-2 at Florida.

Three other games are also scheduled to start at 7.

John Tavares pays his first visit to the Bell Centre since the New York Islanders made him the No. 1 pick in the Entry Draft last June when the Isles visit Montreal (RDS, TSN). New York got its first win in seven games on Wednesday by beating Carolina 4-3 in a shootout. The Canadiens beat Atlanta 2-1 in a shootout on Tuesday to end a five-game losing streak.

The New York Rangers try to make it 2-for-2 against New Jersey when the Devils come to Madison Square Garden. New York beat the Devils 3-2 on Oct. 5 in New Jersey, the second victory in what became a seven-game winning streak that ended with a loss to San Jose on Monday. The Devils have struggled at home but are 3-0-0 on the road.

There figure to be some goals scored in Atlanta, where the Thrashers come off a 3-1-1 road trip to host Washington. The Caps' Alex Ovechkin leads the NHL with 9 goals and 16 points, but Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk is off to the fastest start of his career with 7 goals in six games.

Two games will face off at 7:30 ET. Nashville takes a six-game losing streak to Ottawa, where the Senators are off to a 5-2-0 start. San Jose, coming off wins at Long Island and New York, visits Tampa Bay. The Lightning is 2-0-1 at home, but has lost four in a row to the Sharks.

The Columbus Blue Jackets play the second half of their swing through Alberta when they visit the Edmonton Oilers at 9:30 ET. The Oilers are 5-2-1 and have benefitted from a schedule that's been very heavy on home games. Columbus lost 6-3 at Calgary on Tuesday -- only the second loss for the Jackets in seven games this season.

Detroit begins a five-game road trip with a visit to the surprising Phoenix Coyotes at 10 p.m. ET. The Wings have yet to win on the road this season, while the Coyotes are off to a 5-2-0 start largely because they own the NHL's stingiest defense, backed by last week's first star, goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.

At 10:30, Dallas heads up the highway from Anaheim for a visit to Los Angeles. The Stars will have revenge on their minds -- the Kings completed a six-game road trip by beating the Stars 4-1 on Monday in Dallas. L.A. has had a couple of days off, while the Stars beat the Ducks 4-2 at the Honda Center on Wednesday.

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