MONTREAL – An intra-team game may seem like a small experience, except it’s possible in Montreal.
About 20,000 Canadians wanted to spend their first Sunday of fall at the Bell Center and they were treated to an entertaining show during the Reds’ game against the Whites.
“It’s unbelievable. I’ve played in other cities in the league and it’s not normal to have so many people for an intrasquad game, said defenseman Mike Matheson, who also wore the colors of the Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s one of those things that you see as a player and you realize how special it is to play for the Canadiens.”
For the occasion, the Canadian unfortunately gave up his first choice of the last draft, the defender David Reinbacher, as well as the first choice of the 2022 auction Juraj Slafkovsky.
However, several veterans are in uniform, including stars Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki. Rookie Tanner Pearson completes the Reds’ top line.
On the White side, Kirby Dach is flanked by the experienced Sean Monahan and Brendan Gallagher. On defense, the hopeful William Trudeau is paired with the veteran David Savard.
The show is primarily animated in the second of two 30-minute episodes in continuous time, except for the last five minutes in stopped time. The audience was also kept on the edge of their seats during the five-minute period of the three-on-three game.
Caufield scored a goal for the Reds on a pass from Pearson, while Suzuki set the table for a goal from Mattias Norlinder. Jared Davidson also scored for the Reds, who led 3-2 after 60 minutes of five-on-five play. Cayden Primeau was perfect in the first period, while Strauss Mann played the second half.
Florian Xhekaj and Rafaël Harvey-Pinard replied for the Whites. Jake Allen allowed one goal, while Quentin Miller was struck out twice.
Riley Kidney made it 3-3 by scoring against Mann for White during the three-on-three period.
Mann redeemed himself by stopping Jakov Novak and Xhekaj in quick succession of breakaways.
Suzuki ruled in favor of the Reds in the shootout.
In general, veterans are often more comfortable than players who are competing for position or looking to assert themselves.
Matheson sometimes seems to be playing against children, it is easy for him to stop the attack and start again.
On the bright side, Miller stopped some dangerous shots, including one from Caufield at point blank range.
Miller also thwarted Caufield in the shootout.
“Suzuki, he did an incredible job. Caufield, I stopped him and I’m really happy, said the 18-year-old from Ahuntsic. I tried to stay in the moment, but just to see these guys, it’s very special.”
According to assistant coach Alex Burrows, Miller’s experience on Sunday showed the value of the Red versus White matchup.
“For him, as a Canadiens fan, as a Quebecer, to play in front of a packed house at the Bell Centre, to stop Cole Caufield in a shootout, everything was special,” Burrows said. Even stepping on ice to the music of Coldplay was a magical moment for him. »
“It shows him that he’s not that far away if he keeps improving, making sacrifices. That he will have a great career. I find it very good. »
Miller, Xhekaj, goalkeeper Jan Spunar and striker Cédrick Guindon were transferred to their respective junior clubs after the match.
Davidson also continues to have a knack for the back of the net, scoring three goals in an intrasquad game earlier this week at the CN Sports Complex.
He also surprised Miller in a shootout before seeing Monahan give him the answer.
“He was amazing this week. He is a good shooter and draws easily. He sees the game well and is always in a good position defensively,” said Burrows about Davidson.
“Also, a week like that shows him that he is not far from his dream. »
All tickets have been sold for the event, although some seats remained empty throughout the game. Profits will be donated to the Canadian Children’s Foundation and La Tablée des Chefs.
The Canadians begin their preparation schedule Monday night, when they host the New Jersey Devils at the Bell Center.