Mike Condon won’t be in the ‘last row of the nose bleeds’ tomorrow

FOXBOROUGH — Mike Condon is a big New England Patriots fan. He’s even got a special mask that pays homage to Bill Belichick.

But Friday he’ll be trying to win one for the visitors at the home of his favorite NFL team.

“Usually when I’m at Gillette Stadium, I’m in the last row of the nose bleeds,” Condon said today.

Tomorrow, the 25-year-old Massachusetts native will be center stage, the starting goalie for the Montreal Canadiens in the Winter Classic against the Boston Bruins.

His family will be there. So will a bunch of his friends. His dad, a sergeant in the Massachussets State Police, even led the Canadiens’ escort to the stadium today.

How has Condon been dealing with all the potential distractions?

“It’s just basically laying low,” he said. “Not doing too much, not going out, not looking at your phone too much. Just trying to be as normal as possible and just concentrating on your work every day and taking care of what you can.”

It’s been a challenging month for Condon, who’s been forced into a starting role after the injury to Carey Price. The undrafted former Princeton Tiger has been between the pipes for a lot of losses, and his .888 save percentage during the month has been one of the contributing factors in the Habs’ precipitous fall in the standings.

He played well in his last outing, though, making 36 saves in a 4-3 shootout win in Tampa Bay on Monday. He was named the game’s first star. That helped him get the Winter Classic assignment over the recently acquired Ben Scrivens.

“It’s an honor for me to go out there,” said Condon. “And just at the end of the day, it’s another game, another two points.”

But, of course, it’s not just “another game.” The Canadiens are looking at Friday as a potential turning point.

“Yeah, it could change a lot,” said captain Max Pacioretty. “I think if we can pull out a good game tomorrow and get the victory, I think it could be a good jump start for things to come.”

On top of that, there’s the experience of playing in a Winter Classic.

“Playing on a stage like this is something you’ll remember for the rest of your life,” said defenseman P.K. Subban. “So really enjoy it, take it in, drink it in. We want to get the win and the two points. But enjoy the experience because it is just that, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

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