The Suffolk Journal

Back outdoors: the rivalry continues

Andrew Hanides

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Home of the New England Patriots and Revolution, Gillette Stadium is no stranger to big-time athletics. On Jan. 1, it will introduce a new sport to the field, as the Boston Bruins take on the Montreal Canadiens in the 2016 Bridgestone Winter Classic.

In two weeks, Gillette’s turf will be replaced with a sheet of ice. This will be the second time the Bruins have hosted the Winter Classic, with the first held in 2010 at America’s most beloved ballpark, Fenway Park. On that day, Marco Sturm made history as he netted the overtime goal to boost the Bruins past the Philadelphia Flyers (2-1).

Nearly 40,000 hockey fans were on their feet cheering at Fenway. Gillette Stadium, on the other hand, will be on a whole new level, with a daunting 70,000 fans in attendance.

This is more than just an “Original Six” matchup. This is a continuation of the history that these two franchises have been a part of. The Bruins vs. the Canadiens is considered one of the greatest rivalries in the National Hockey League. They have faced off more times than any other teams in the NHL.

Montreal is currently undefeated in the last seven games against the Bruins.

Both teams will be sporting throwback jerseys featuring old logos and colors from the start of the NHL in the early 1900s. This is also when the two Original Six teams started their storied history.

Former Bruin and current President of the team, Cam Neely, has firsthand experience with the Bruins and Habs rivalry. In an interview with Comcast Sports Net, Neely said, “I really thought it made perfect sense, there’s so much history between the two franchises and so many great games over the years.”

The Canadiens will go into the game without goaltending sensation Carey Price, who is out six weeks with an undisclosed leg injury. Rookie Mike Condon has taken over in between the pipes for the Habs.

Montreal currently leads the Atlantic Division. After a slow start to the season, the Bruins have battled their way back to being a force in the NHL, finding their way to the top of the Atlantic Division just behind the Habs.

The Winter Classic will be a true testament to how far the Bruins have come from the beginning of the season.

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Back outdoors: the rivalry continues