NBC has been hyping today's nationally televised Black Friday matinee game between the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins for more than a week in TV commercials and Internet ads.

The promotional blitz appears to be justified.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins have won 10 in a row after a 3-7 start. The Red Wings are 7-2 in their past nine games. It's a rare matchup of Original Six rivals who meet only once this season.

"Every time we play an Original Six team, there's an extra energy to the game," Bruins goaltender and Flint native Tim Thomas said. "To play against Detroit is always a big deal because I'm from Michigan. I don't really look too far ahead on the schedule, I just try to keep focused. But I always know when the Red Wings game is because my family makes me aware of it.

"And I'm happy to be playing in Boston this time because it was a lot cheaper than playing in Detroit."

Thomas, 37, added a new chapter to his rags-to-riches story last season by winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP when the Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks in seven games in the Cup finals. It capped an amazing season in which he went 35-11-9 with a 2.00 goals-against average and .938 save percentage, winning his second Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goalie.

He is flourishing again this season (10-4-0, 1.85 GAA, .936 save percentage).

"The year he had and what he did in the playoffs, the stats he threw up were incredible," Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard said. "I don't think those will be touched anytime soon."

Howard never has met Thomas but said he has a lot of respect for what Thomas has accomplished after overcoming many hurdles to make it to the NHL. Howard also likes Thomas' unconventional style of scrambling around in net to stop pucks.