BOSTON — Tonight, Game 55 of the 2010-11 NHL season, the Boston Bruins will be hosting a Western Conference powerhouse in the Detroit Red Wings at the TD Garden.
The infamous boxer hailing from Lowell, Mass., “Irish” Mickey Ward will be dropping the ceremonial puck before the game (7:00 p.m. on NESN and 98.5 FM).
Tonight could be the battle of the Sophomore netminders. Detroit’s Jimmy Howard (26-10-3, 2.89 GAA, .904 SV%, 2 SO) will be in the cage against the Black and Gold. As for Boston, Tim Thomas was the only goalie on the ice this morning for the B’s optional morning skate, so Tuukka Rask (5-10-1, 2.69 GAA, .922 SV%, 1 SO) could get the start — his last start was the 6-3 win at home on Feb. 3 against the Dallas Stars.
Head coach Claude Julien said he’ll be going with the same lineup as Wednesday night against the Montreal Canadiens; which means rookie Tyler Seguin will be a healthy scratch for the second-consecutive game, as will defenseman Mark Stuart.
“Well I mean this is an opportunity for us to see even more,” Julien said when asked if this game will help gauge where the B’s stand in the league. “We don’t get an opportunity to see them much but you certainly like to gauge yourself against teams in the other conference as well and this team that we’re playing is an elite team in this league. No matter what has happened to them lately, they do have the skill level, they do have the experience. Not just of winning, but also winning Stanley Cups, so they know what it takes when times are tough, and that’s what we should expect tonight.”
In his third game at the NHL level this season, center Zach Hamill is feeling more and more confident with every game.
“I think every game I’m just trying to come in there and get nmore comfortable and I think I think I’ve done that so far,” he said. “The first game I was a little nervous, a little timid I guess. But the last game I felt pretty good and I want to build off that.”
Lined with Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder, Hamill notched his first point of the season — an assist on Ryder’s wicked wrist shot against Montreal on Wednesday night.
“It was nice to contribute and have all of our linemates involved in the goal. It was a nice play by all three of us,” he said. “I just want to build off those kind of plays.
“If it’s practice or a game you want to build off each other. Read off each other,” Hamill added on the chemistry that’s been building between he and his linemates. “They’ve played together before, so I’m just trying to fit in there and see what I can do.”
The referees tonight will be Ian Walsh (#29) & Steve Kozari (#40) Linesmen Brad Kovachik (#97) & Tim Nowak (#77).
And TD Garden favorite and Bruins legend Rene Rancourt will be singing the National Anthem.