In the loaded Western Conference, it’s easy to forget about the Calgary Flames.
One of the hottest teams in the league, the Flames hope to extend their unbeaten streak to four games as they visit the Boston Bruins.
Winners of nine of 13 (9-2-2), the Flames are a season-high six games above .500 after beating the league-leading Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on Tuesday.
Largely due to the outstanding play of goalie Mikka Kiprusoff, the Flames have allowed more than one goal just once in their last eight games. The 27-year-old netminder has yielded more than two goals just once in 11 games this season, and is sporting a 1.52 goals-against average.
Kiprusoff made 35 saves against the Flyers on Tuesday to improve to 8-2-1 on the season.
The struggling Bruins have managed just one win in their last seven (1-4-2) games, and are coming off a 1-1 tie with Montreal on Wednesday. Brian Rolston scored for the second straight game and Andrew Raycroft made 28 saves for Boston, which has tied four of its last six contests.
Rolston, who had an assist and a short-handed goal in Saturday’s 3-2 win in Ottawa, scored his 12th of the season in the second period Wednesday, tying the game shortly after Montreal opened the scoring midway through the period.
“It’s always a tough game when you come in here,” Rolston said. “With the rivalry that we have, and we played in the playoffs a couple of years ago, so you know it’s going to be a tough game and you’ve got to battle for your points every night.”
STANDINGS (through Dec. 16): Flames - 35 points, 3rd place, 6 PB, Northwest Division. Bruins - 38 points, 2nd place, 6 PB, Northeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Flames - Shean Donovan, 12 goals; Jarome Iginla, 11 assists and 20 points; Krzysztof Oliwa, 90 PIM. Bruins - Rolston, 12 goals; Joe Thornton, 23 assists and 30 points; Nick Boynton, 46 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 16): Flames - Power play: 16.2 percent (109 for 130), 11th in NHL. Penalty killing: 16.2 percent (108 for 132), 25th. Bruins - Power play: 17.5 percent (94 for 114), 18th. Penalty killing: 78.4 percent (98 for 125), 29th.
2002-03 SEASON SERIES: Bruins, 1-0-1.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Flames - 5-5-0-2 on the road; Bruins - 4-3-5-1 at home.