Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask debuted his new mask before team practice at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on Friday evening in preparation for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens scheduled for 1 p.m. ET today, according to NESN.
The 2016 Winter Classic game will be streamed live with NBC Sports Live Extra online, and broadcast on the NBC television network. In Canada, the Winter Classic will be broadcast on Sportsnet. Sirius XM will broadcast the game on Sirius Premier channel 211 and XM channel 218. Sportsnet will also offer a streaming feed of its Winter Classic radio broadcast.
— Pros Choice (@Progoalie) December 31, 2015
— Boston Globe Sports (@BGlobeSports) December 31, 2015
Tuukka Rask’s newly unveiled goalie’s mask was painted by Canadian artist Sylvie Marsolais, who has also painted a mask for Montreal Canadiens’ backup goaltender Ben Scrivens, according to the Boston Globe. Rask’s mask pays tribute to various aspects of Boston sports, with images of four New England Patriots football players including quarterback Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Stephen Gostkowski, and Rob Gronkowski. The new goalie mask also features an image of the old Boston Garden in wintertime.
“We wanted to pay tribute to their success and some of their players and make the biggest part of the mask about the Pats, with the Bruins colors,” Tuuka Rask was quoted. “So I’m pretty happy with the result, and it’s been a secret for months now, and now you guys see it.”
Close to 70,000 fans are expected for this afternoon’s meeting of long-time rivals Boston and Montreal. What makes the game all the more exciting is its very real importance to the standing of each team. Going into the Winter Classic game day Montreal is in second place in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference with 21 wins, 15 losses, and 45 total points. Boston trails the Canadians by one point, with 44, boasting a record of 20 wins and 12 losses, and putting them in third place in the division.
Canadiens’ right winger Brandon Gallagher will be giving Montreal a surely much-appreciated boost when he returns from the injured list at the Winter Classic today, having last played on November 22, before breaking his hand and missing five weeks, according to ESPN. Gallagher’s return is described as being a “massive addition” to the Canadiens’ game.
The Bruins and Canadiens last met on December 9 when Boston won 3-1, as reported by Yahoo Sports.
Tuukka Rask will be the starting goalie for the Boston Bruins and Mike Condon for the Montreal Canadiens. Rask played in the Bruins’ last appearance in a Winter Classic game in 2010, acting as backup goaltender for Tim Thomas, when Boston faced-off outdoors against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The first NHL Winter Classic was held in 2008 and was played between the Buffalo Sabres and the Pittsburgh Penguins in Orchard Park, New York at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Winter Classic series of outdoor NHL games was inspired by the 2003 Heritage Classic, played outdoors between the Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers in Edmonton at the Commonwealth Stadium, according to the CBC.
At first, the Winter Classic series was seen as an American answer to the all-Canadian Heritage Classic, with the first games in the Winter Classic series being played by exclusively American teams. The Toronto Maple Leafs were the first Canadian NHL team to take part in the Winter Classic in the 2014 game held in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2.
Tuukka Rask is 28-years-old and was born in Savonlinna, Finland. So far in the 2015 season, he has 14 wins, 9 losses, and 3 OTLs. Rask first played professional hockey in 2008 and has played with the Boston Bruins for his entire career with the NHL. The goalie has 150 career wins, 90 losses, and 38 OTLs in his 9 years as a pro.
[Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images]