On Thursday morning, the Montreal Canadiens played their first red vs. white scrimmage since returning to training camp. Group A played against Group B with two major changes on either side. For Group A, they were without Carey Price, meanwhile, Group B’s fourth line featured the presence of forward Paul Byron.
Byron would open the scoring for Team White, which would make it 1-0 in the opening period. Ahead going into the intermission, Team Red would tie the game in the second, courtesy of newcomer Michael Frolik, who would even the score at one apiece.
From there, Team Red took over, as Tyler Toffoli would score to make it 2-1 before Jesperi Kotkaniemi then doubled their lead, this making it 3-1 after 40 minutes. Team White would respond in the third, as Brandon Baddock would put one in on the power play to reduce Team Red’s lead to just a single goal. Jordan Weal then followed this up with a goal of his own, knotting the game up at three.
Jonathan Drouin later gave Team Red the lead again before Kotkaniemi added an empty net goal, that acting as insurance, sealing a 5-3 victory. Following the game, Montreal decided to work on their three-on-three overtime, and Team Red would add another goal, this one from Tomas Tatar, tripling their lead from 5 to 6. Counting the goal, that was the game’s final score.
After the game, a pair of players met with the media, including Jake Allen and Corey Perry, while head coach Claude Julien then rounded out the media session.
Asked about what he had noticed during his first five days of camp in Brossard, Perry said Thursday via Zoom, “There’s skill, there’s speed when you’re on the ice with them, you really notice the speed and the skill, and then you look at our back end, they’re big, they’re mobile, so it’s exciting what we have done in the first couple days, and what I see, it’s been exciting.”
He also added to that what it’s going to be like to crack the lineup every night. “You have to prove yourself every single day. Today was another example, we get the day off tomorrow, come back Saturday and do it all over again and get better every single day. There’s a lot of great hockey players on this team and there’s only so many spots, but that’s a good thing.”
Next up to face the media was Jake Allen to give his thoughts on how he feels camp is going thus far. “It’s a short camp, trying to understand everyone as quick as possible, and it’s good to start off with the road trip, it will help me and the new guys bond with the veteran guys here.”
Finally, as is the daily routine, we got to hear from head coach Claude Julien, who provided some insight in what he liked from the first scrimmage match. “It’s exactly what we wanted to see. Team White worked really hard. Their work ethic and the way they competed were even better than if we played a preseason game against another team. When it comes to preseason games, you bring half your team most of the time and your veterans give just enough to get ready for the season. I’d say we had a more competitive matchup this way. This intra-squad game was a positive experience. It’s the type of game that will prepare us to be better at the start of the year.”
The Canadiens have Friday off before returning on Saturday ahead of their final scrimmage match. Sunday’s game will be a game-day simulation with the players having skate in the morning, going home and returning for a 7:00pm puck drop.