NHL ON NBC: Gallagher returns as Habs take on Bruins in Winter Classic

The first game of 2016 should be an interesting one, as two old rivals, Montreal and Boston, face-off in the Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

You can catch all the action on NBC starting at 1:00 p.m. ET. To watch the game online, click here.

The Canadiens will be thrilled to put a miserable month of December behind them.

They dropped 11 of 14 games last month, and what was once a huge lead atop the Atlantic Division no longer exists.

There is some good news for Montreal.

Alternate captain Brendan Gallagher will make his return to the lineup after missing 17 games with some broken fingers.

“I think when you look at this event, it’s cool to bring in your family and friends and get an opportunity to be at a venue like this,” explained Gallagher. “Like I said from the start, I wouldn’t come back if I didn’t feel like I could help the team. I didn’t want to come back for selfish reasons. The doctors helped me to come back and play, and now hopefully I can contribute.”

These two teams couldn’t be any closer in the standings. Montreal is currently second in the division and they have a slim one-point lead over Boston, but the Bruins have three games in hand.

The B’s will have to win this one without one of their top forwards and leaders, as Brad Marchand was suspended three games for a low hit on Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki.

“I just want to acknowledge the situation I’ve put my team in for being undisciplined, and affecting the game for them,” Marchand said on Thursday. “Taking away the excitement from the fans, being a part of this rivalry, taking that away from them. Also, for affecting this game for myself and putting myself in a situation to not be part of this.”

This is the second time the Bruins host a Winter Classic game.

They played the Flyers at Fenway Park back in 2010. Boston won the game 2-1 in overtime on a goal from Marco Sturm.

Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara-the only two current Bruins to play in that Winter Classic game against the Flyers-picked up the assists on Sturm’s game-winner.

“It’s obviously one of the highlights of the season for the whole League, so it’s a privilege and honor to be playing in this game,” said Chara. “It’s one of those experiences you will always treasure and remember.”

This is the fourth meeting of the season between these two teams.

The Canadiens won the first two, while the Bruins claimed victory in the most recent match-up.

These two teams will meet again, in Montreal, on Jan. 19.

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