BROSSARD, Que. – The days without a game were dragging on, so the Montreal Canadiens decided they needed an intrasquad game to get the competitive juices flowing.
The Canadiens had a mock game day on Monday, complete with a morning skate at their practice facility. They were scheduled to play a simulated game in the evening against mostly call-ups from the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs at the Bell Centre.
The team has been off since completing a sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the NHL playoffs on April 22. They are not expected to begin the second round against the rival Boston Bruins until Thursday or Friday, which would make for a break of nine or 10 days between playoff games.
The Canadiens hope the intrasquad game will help keep the rust off. Rugged winger Brandon Prust said they would play at a good pace while being mindful of avoiding injuries.
“It’s a question of being smart,” Prust said. “We want to skate hard and be hard on the puck and be physical.
“It’s a game-like situation, but no one’s going to be running around trying to kill people. At the same time, you’re blocking shots and guys are shooting the puck hard and you’re battling for pucks. It’s going to be good for us.”
The game was to be closed to the public and media. Coach Michel Therrien also gave his players a day off on Tuesday.
The Canadiens were off the first two days after the sweep but resumed practising on Friday.