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Training camp : Day 3

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
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BROSSARD - The stars came out to shine during the third and final intrasquad scrimmage at the Canadiens’ training camp on Tuesday morning. For the first time since signing on with the team this summer, all of the Habs’ newest snipers hit the ice together in Brossard.

After months of waiting for a glimpse of what’s to come for the revamped lineup this season, there were several hundred fans who didn’t leave disappointed. Team C (Whites) opened the scoring off a spectacular backhand deke by Brian Gionta on a penalty shot. While Team C may have scored early, it was Team B (Reds) who scored often on Tuesday, mounting a three-goal comeback for the 3-1 win.   
The star-studded line of Mike Cammalleri, Scott Gomez and Andrei Kostitsyn got the ball rolling for the Reds near the end of the first period. Cammalleri flashed some of his trademark offense, finishing a beautiful cross-crease feed from Gomez to even the score at one.
It was all-Reds in the second, with Andrew Conboy sneaking one past Curtis Sanford followed by a beautiful marker by Max Pacioretty, who dangled his way in and roofed a shot over Sandford’s shoulder.
After three games, Team B was crowned the champion of the mini-tournament, scoring four goals and allowing just two against. The scoring title was a draw between Team A’s Brock Trotter, who potted two in Monday’s match-up, and Gionta, who also finished with a pair of goals.  After posting consecutive shutouts at the other end of the ice, Jaroslav Halak claimed top goaltender honors.
It was the second time in as many games that Jacques Martin had Cammalleri skating with Gomez and another line featuring Plekanec centering Gionta.
“The real test for these pairings will be in the preseason games. For the moment, I like what I’ve seen from these combinations,” offered the Habs’ bench boss. “I've had Andrei Kostitsyn with them and we'll experiment with that line combination going into some preseason games.”
As far as his current chemistry experiment with probable linemate Gomez goes, Cammalleri seems excited by the results so far.
“For me, it’s important to get to know each other's strengths and play to those strengths. We're starting to get familiar with each other's game. The more we learn about that, the more familiar we get, the easier it becomes. It will take some time, but Day 2 already feels better than Day 1,” explained the 28-year-old winger, who is coming off a career-high 39-goal season with the Flames.
Power-forward-in-the-making Max Pacioretty is feeling better than ever these days after potting the insurance goal in Tuesday’s game and showcasing some of his newly-honed speed and offense throughout training camp.
“I feel faster than I've ever felt before on the ice and I think that's so important with the game now. If you can skate fast, so many more opportunities are going to come your way,” explained the 6-foot-2 left winger.
While he didn’t make it onto the scoresheet on Tuesday, it couldn’t have been a bigger day for Philippe Lefebvre. The only player invited to camp on a tryout basis, Lefebvre impressed the Habs’ brass enough that even though he’ll be heading back to the QMJHL today, he’ll be doing so with a three-year deal in his back pocket.  
“There was no bad news today, even if I am being sent back to Drummondville,” beamed the 18-year-old Trois-Rivieres native. “I don’t know if [former Voltigeurs head coach] Guy Boucher had anything to do with the decision to sign me, but I’m sure it didn’t hurt.” 
Three other players were released to their respective teams on Tuesday, including 6-foot-9 goaltender Jason Missiaen and defensemen Mac Bennett and Joe Stejskal.

Vincent Cauchy is a writer for Translated by Shauna Denis

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