Preview: Flames vs. Bruins
The slumping Calgary Flames will be without one of their top goal scorers for an extended period of time, and a matchup with the red-hot Boston Bruins likely won't make things any easier.
Boston seeks its ninth win in 10 tries Thursday night when it hosts Calgary, which is looking to avoid a fifth consecutive loss.
The NHL suspended Flames forward Rene Bourque five games Wednesday for a hit to the head on Washington's Niklas Backstrom during Tuesday's 3-1 loss.
Bourque, third on the team with 13 goals, also took a penalty within the game's opening minutes that led to a goal as Calgary (18-18-5) fell for the fourth straight time following a four-game winning streak.
Coach Brent Sutter said his squad needs to refocus.
"Our focus needs to be just on one game," Sutter said. "Let's make sure we give ourselves a chance and make sure our preparation is where it needs to be and go in there with the mindset that we need one win."
Getting a win against defending Stanley Cup champion Boston has been difficult lately.
The Bruins (25-10-1) bounced back from their only defeat since Dec. 10 by routing New Jersey 6-1 on Wednesday. Boston, which lost 4-2 in Dallas on Friday, got two goals from Patrice Bergeron and 30 saves from Tim Thomas in the victory.
Bergeron's first goal put the Bruins ahead 3-1 in the second period when he created a breakaway off of a shot he blocked.
"You want to defend when someone is in a shooting zone, but to turn it into a goal and make them pay is a big turnaround," he said. "I want to be in those situations."
Bergeron prides himself on playing just as hard in both zones, something his teammates have noticed.
"He's arguably the best two-way player in the game," enforcer Shawn Thornton said. "The things he does out there are amazing. He gives us such a boost the way he comes up with plays like that. If a team makes a mistake, he's always in the right place."
Jarome Iginla hopes to be in even better position Thursday as he seeks his 500th goal.
The Flames captain, who has 15 goals and 17 assists despite a slow start, failed to score in the loss to the Capitals.
"It's about preparing the same way and trying to help the team win," Iginla said of approaching the 500-goal milestone. "Sometimes when you go down to shoot you think about it, but you try to get those out of your head because it plays with you a little bit, for sure."
Iginla hasn't scored in his last five games versus Boston, which has outscored Calgary 8-1 while winning the last two meetings.
Thomas was in net for both of those matchups, earning a 31-save shutout in a 5-0 home win March 27, 2010, before making 28 saves in a 3-1 victory at Calgary on Feb. 22.
Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff - 1-3-0 with a 3.21 goals-against average in his last four starts versus Boston - has dropped his last three starts overall while posting a 3.04 GAA.