Two Original Six franchises renew their rivalry in an outdoor setting as the Boston Bruins host the Montreal Canadiens in the 2016 NHL Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium on New Year's Day at 1 p.m. ET.
The 69,000-seat venue in Foxborough, Mass., is the home of the NFL's New England Patriots.
"It's always a big game every year, and now that the rivalry's here with Montreal, it just adds more fuel," Bruins forward Jimmy Hayes told the Boston Globe of the game, which is expected to be played in temperatures between minus-4 and 5 degrees Celsius. "So it'll be a lot of fun."
The Canadiens, who arrive with just two wins in their last 13 games, will have a key lineup addition while the Bruins limp in without David Krejci (upper body) and Brad Marchand (suspension).
Marchand, who leads the team with 15 goals, was suspended three games for an illegal hit in Boston's 7-3 win over Ottawa on Tuesday.
Montreal is 4-11-1 since reigning Hart and Vezina Trophy winner Carey Price went down with a leg injury and has scored more than two goals just twice in that span. Sparkplug forward Brendan Gallagher should help improve that as he returns from a 17-game absence due to a hand injury.
About the Canadiens (21-15-3): Alex Galchenyuk has picked up his play with two goals and three assists during his five-game point streak while captain Max Pacioretty leads the team in scoring (29 points) and defenceman P.K. Subban has recorded a team-best 25 assists. Montreal has surrendered six power-play goals in its last six games, including one in Tuesday's 3-1 loss at Florida. Mike Condon, who beat Tampa Bay 4-3 in a shootout Monday, is expected to be in net after the newly acquired Ben Scrivens played Tuesday.
About the Bruins (20-12-4): The Bruins are third in the league in scoring but will have to rely more on Tuukka Rask (.948 save percentage in December) with two of their top five point producers out of the lineup. Patrice Bergeron has recorded three goals in as many games and leads the team in scoring with 35 points while Loui Eriksson has collected 33, including five assists in his last three contests. Captain Zdeno Chara is having a big bounce-back season, registering 19 points and a team-best plus-10 rating.
1. The Bruins beat Philadelphia 2-1 in overtime at Fenway Park in the 2010 Winter Classic, while Montreal has lost twice in the outdoor Heritage Classic.
2. Gallagher has recorded 15 points and a plus-10 rating in 14 career games against the Bruins.
3. Boston won at Montreal 3-1 on Dec. 9 to snap an eight-game losing streak against the Canadiens that included two other games this season and the end of their 2013-14 playoff series.