Game Preview: CANADIENS (21-15-3) @ BRUINS (20-12-4)
TV: NBC, TVA, SN – 1:00 p.m.
The Habs and Bruins will write a new chapter in their storied rivalry when the two longstanding adversaries clash outdoors at the 2016 Winter Classic.
Bringing in the New Year, the Canadiens and Bruins head to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts where the stage is set for the NHL’s annual outdoor extravaganza.
Although the Canadiens opened the scoring in their most recent game on Tuesday night against Florida, the Panthers would storm back to score three unanswered goals to come back and win 3-1. Captain Max Pacioretty scored the lone marker for the Habs while Alex Galchenyuk drew an assist to extend his point streak to five-games.
Goaltender Ben Scrivens made 27 saves on 30 shots in Tuesday nights’ loss, including some highlight reel saves to keep the Canadiens in the game. On Thursday, the Habs confirmed that Massachusetts native Mike Condon will get the start between the pipes in Foxboro.
Tuesday night also saw the already depleted Bruins lose another soldier as forward Brad Marchand was suspended three games for a low hit on Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki. In addition, the Bruins will be without the services of center David Krejci who was injured earlier this week before being placed on the injured reserve on Monday.
Without the offensive fire power of two of the Bruins top four scorers, the team will have to rely more on their goaltender Tuukka Rask. The Finnish netminder recently strung together a five-game win streak before suffering back-to-back losses against the St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators.
Michel Therrien and the Canadiens will get a much needed boost by the return of Brendan Gallagher, who has been injured since November 22, 2015. The tenacious forward’s impact on the team is undeniable. With Gallagher in the lineup, the Canadiens have an impressive record of 16-4-2. Gallagher practiced in Brossard Wednesday morning and has been given the green light by team doctors to play in the Winter Classic on Friday afternoon.
On Thursday morning, the Canadiens announced that forward Sven Andrighetto has been sent down to the St. John’s IceCaps, opening the door for Brendan Gallagher to return to the lineup.
Rask, one of the league’s premier goaltenders, has always had trouble defeating the Montreal Canadiens as the former first round pick sports a career record of 4-14-3 against the Canadiens with a goals against average of 2.66 and a save percentage of .909.
Puck drop for the 2016 Winter Classic is set for 1:00 p.m. at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.