BOSTON - During an 82-game regular season, there aren't many matchups that ooze with intrigue.
Saturday night's game against the Bruins is one of them.
The Flyers, who lead the NHL with 103 goals, will be in Boston to face Team Stingy.
The Bruins, anchored by resurgent goalie Tim Thomas and body-clearing 6-foot-9, 261-pound defenseman Zdeno Chara, entered Friday tied with Montreal for allowing the fewest goals (54) in the league.
Adding more spice to the matchup is this: It's the first time the Flyers have visited Boston since they won the epic Game 7 in last season's Eastern Conference semifinals. The Flyers overcame a three-games-to-none series deficit and a 3-0 deficit in Game 7.
"I'm sure we'll probably get some extra boos going back there," center Danny Briere said, smiling.
Briere, who has a team-high 16 goals and is on a 44-goal pace, said the Flyers would have extra focus because of their 3-0 loss to the visiting Bruins on Dec. 1.
"They took it to us in the first game in Philly," he said. "They didn't like what happened last year in the playoffs, so we'll have to be better prepared."
Specifically, it was Thomas who took it to the Flyers in the teams' first meeting, turning aside 41 shots.
After an injury-bothered 2009-10 season, Thomas has taken the No. 1 job from Tuukka Rask and leads the league in goals-against average (1.49), save percentage (.955), and shutouts (5). He entered Friday tied with the Flyers' Sergei Bobrovsky and Los Angeles' Jonathan Quick for third in the NHL with 14 wins.
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette doesn't announce his starting goalie until game day, and he has a tough decision. On one hand, rookie sensation Bobrovsky (2.29 GAA, .922 save percentage) is rested and is among the league leaders in several categories; he also played well in the Dec. 1 loss to Boston.
On the other hand, Brian Boucher (2.40, .911) is coming off an outstanding performance in the Flyers' 4-1 win in Toronto on Thursday.
Briere's line, with wingers Ville Leino and Scott Hartnell, combined for a plus-8 rating Thursday. Leino missed Tuesday's practice with an illness, but he has rebounded and scored goals in each of his last two games.
Leino said it would be "a nice moment" to return to the scene of the crime - becoming just the fourth team, in any sport, to steal a series after losing the first three games - "but I'm sure they're going to come hard at us, so we have to be ready."
As a byproduct of being the NHL's highest-scoring team, and having the league's best goal differential, at plus-28, the Flyers are dominating the plus-minus stats.
For the first time this season, five Flyers are in the league's top 10 in that category.
Andrej Meszaros and Sean O'Donnell, who compose the team's third defensive pairing, shared the NHL lead at plus-18 each entering Friday. Briere (plus-16) has moved into a tie for fourth, and Leino and Hartnell are tied for ninth with plus-15 ratings.
In another rehab start, goalie Michael Leighton (29 saves) helped Adirondack snap a 10-game losing streak and defeat Syracuse, 5-2, on Friday. Defenseman Matt Walker also started a conditioning stint and was minus-1. . . . The Bruins are allowing 1.89 goals per game, compared with the Flyers' 2.40 average. The Flyers are scoring 3.40 goals per game, while Boston is averaging 2.96. . . . Chris Pronger has blocked 13 shots in the last two games. . . .. With Thursday's win, the Flyers are 7-3-4 when playing games on consecutive days. . . . After his team lost Thursday, a disgruntled Toronto fan threw waffles onto the ice, with some hitting the stick of Leafs defenseman Francois Beauchemin. "The way we're playing, it's frustrating for everybody," Beauchemin told the Toronto Sun.