Billington played well in the preseason, which is why Crawford is giving him an early season start.
"Patrick will basically play eight of 10 games,'' Crawford said. "We want to let them (goalies) know as much in advance as we can on which games they will be playing. Last year we made Billy wait. We don't want to do that this year. He had a great training camp, and we wanted to give him a game early.''
Billington, who was 11-8-2 with a 2.65 goals-against average in a relief role last season, didn't get a start until the seventh game of the 1996-97 season.
Tonight, he will be playing against a Bruins team for whom he played 35 games during the 1994-95 and 1995-86 seasons. He lost to Boston 4-1 last season.
"I look forward to each and every start I get,'' Billington said. "You work hard in practice so you are sharp for the games. The reason I work as hard as I do is so I can have some success in the games.
"Patrick counts on me to give him the night off, and the team counts on me to play well when I'm in there. It's a responsibility I have and a role on this team.''
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