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Ice Breakers: Bruins-Flames, Tuesday February 22nd

The Bruins (33-19-7) will make the third stop on their season-long six-game road trip this evening, when they travel out to western Canada to face off with the Calgary Flames (31-22-8).

Boston welcomed two of their newest additions in Ottawa Friday night, as Tomas Kaberle and Chris Kelly joined the B’s to make their black and gold debuts. Kelly faced the team he had spent his entire pro career with, while Kaberle joined the Bruins after being traded from Toronto just hours before puck drop. The two would help Boston earn its second win in a row, topping the lowly Senators 4-2 at Scotiabank Place.

Tonight, the B’s will debut their third big addition, with forward Rich Peverley set to make his first appearance in a spoked-B sweater. Peverley was also acquired in a frenzied Friday of trade activity, coming over from Atlanta with minor league defenseman Boris Valabik, in a deal that sent Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart south to Atlanta. Peverley joins his third NHL team at just age 28, having played for Nashville and Atlanta thus far. He’s coming off his best season as a pro, having notched 22 goals in 2009-10. Judging by the team’s practice on Sunday, we’ll likely see Peverley play left wing on the team’s third line tonight, with Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder.

As for the Flames, they’ll just be happy to be playing in a warmer setting indoors, after braving sub-freezing temperatures Sunday night in the NHL’s first Heritage Classic game at McMahon Stadium in Calgary. The Flames topped the Canadiens in the contest, shutting them out 4-0, led by 39 saves from Miikka Kiprusoff and two goals by winger Rene Bourque. Calgary has jumped up to a tie for fifth place in the Western Conference with Nashville, after struggling through much of the season’s first half.

We don’t see these Northwest Division teams too often, so let’s get right to the pre-game notes to get you ready for tonight’s tilt at the Saddledome…

  • Tonight marks the only meeting between these two squads this season. Last season, the B’s blanked the Flames at TD Garden, 5-0, led by 31 saves from Tim Thomas.
  • With a win tonight, the B’s can match Tampa Bay with 75 points, and tie them for second place in the Eastern Conference. In the Northeast Division itself, Boston has opened up a four-point advantage over second place Montreal, with one game in hand over the Habs. Montreal faces West-leading Vancouver later tonight.
  • Calgary is riding a three-game win streak, having outscored their last three opponents by a whopping 17-3 score. Calgary is 11-1-2 in their last 14 games, and are 7-0-2 in their last nine home games.
  • The Flames have a trio of players on IR, dealing with an array of bumps and bruises. Adam Pardy (upper-body), Raitas Ivanans (head), and Daymond Langkow (neck) will all miss this evening’s game.
  • Rene Bourque, one of the heroes in Sunday’s Heritage Classic for Calgary, now has six points in his last three games. A handful of Bruins are also riding relatively hot streaks themselves, with David Krejci posting eight points in his last six games, Patrice Bergeron adding nine points in his last 10 games, and veteran Mark Recchi notching 14 points in his last 14 contests.
  • Offense could be in the spotlight tonight at the Saddledome, with both teams ranking in the top 10 in scoring. Boston currently ranks fourth in the NHL at 3.12 goals per game, while Calgary sits in the seventh spot, at 2.92.
  • Scoring for the Flames is of course led by All Star Jarome Iginla (25G, 32A), who has long been the face of that franchise. Behind Iginla on the stat sheet are forwards Alex Tanguay (16G, 29A) and Olli Jokinen (13G, 30A).
  • Miikka Kiprusoff (27-19-4, 2.62GAA) mans the crease more often than not for Calgary, with his backup being Henrik Karlsson (4-3-4, 2.63GAA).

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