MONTREAL - In his second outing of the preseason, Zach Redmond continued to prove his worth on the back end.
In addition to picking up his second goal in as many games on Thursday night in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre, the 28-year-old defenseman also chipped in with five shots on goal, two blocked shots and eight hits - tops amongst all players on both teams.
The four-year NHL veteran - who boasts 114 games of NHL experience - managed to do all that while logging just 15:51 of ice time, earning him second star honors as a result. That can certainly be categorized as a good night's work.
"I thought we had a good effort. It's hard getting down early like that, having to claw back like that during the game," shared Redmond, referencing the Canadiens being scored upon just 1:41 into the opening frame before overcoming three separate one-goal deficits throughout the game. "Being new to the team, I think the systems are becoming more and more clear, though, and you can see things kind of coming together."
Video: Redmond revient sur le match de jeudi soir
After signing a two-year contract with the Canadiens on July 1st, the Traverse City, MI native came to training camp looking to build upon a season in which he played 37 games for the Colorado Avalanche and saw 11 games of AHL duty in San Antonio, too. With his sights firmly set on securing a full-time roster spot with the Canadiens in 2016-17, Redmond is well-aware of the performance criteria that will give him the best shot to make the season-opening trip to Buffalo come mid-October.
"It's a tryout. For guys like me, you need to show up every day, whether it be at practice, the pre-game skate or games. You need to make a good impression. For me, I think this system is defense first, and that's exactly what I need to do and how I have to approach it. I need to gain the coaches' trust and keep working at that side of my game," stressed Redmond, who fully understands the importance of demonstrating his offensive upside as well as training camp rolls on. "I think my offense can sometimes provide a little bit extra, so it's just how I'm trying to shine a little bit more."
It's clear to see that Redmond loves to shine under the bright lights of the Bell Centre, a building he can't seem to say enough good things about in the infancy of his career with the CH.
Video: OTT@MTL: Redmond banks goal off goalie's back
"It's great. It's the best place to play in my opinion, without bias. They just have the whole entertainment side of it down, the songs, the lighting, the fans," praised Redmond, who also lit the lamp during the Canadiens' Red vs. White intra-squad game last Sunday afternoon in Montreal. "Even in preseason, in whatever kind of game, it gets you. It's awesome to play there. It's special."
Needless to say, the Ferris State University grad is hoping for many, many more opportunities to sport his No. 20 jersey in one of hockey's most raucous buildings down the road. Fortunately, past experience in the Avalanche and Winnipeg Jets organizations have taught him the best way to go about his business this time of year.
"I'm talking to the coaches and making sure that I can grasp those systems quickly. You only have "X" amount of time to get things done. I'm just trying to be a student of the game and make a good impression," confided Redmond, who says his new teammates have also eased his transition along. "Everyone's really welcoming. This is a very, very easy bunch. They're all great guys. It's very easy to just step in and be comfortable."