VERDUN, PQ - Oilers forward David Perron grew up less than a two hour drive away from the city of Montreal and, no surprise, grew up cheering for the Canadiens.
Every time the Oiler suits up against the team he used to root for, his 'hometown' club, Perron savours the moment. It is even more surreal when he heads home to face the Canadiens at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
"It will be my fourth time I think, actually," said Perron. "Every time it's special and different. The first time, I was really nervous and the other times I didn't think I was going to be and I was. We'll see how it goes this time."
The Oilers have a rare trip to Montreal in which they have spent three nights in the city leading up to their game against the Canadiens tomorrow night.
It has given Perron the opportunity to return to a familiar city and visit with a host of friends and family members.
"It's cool. It's only been a couple of months since I left but it seems a little bit longer and it's nice to have a couple of days here. It's not the usual I guess, so it's good."
The Oilers forward says he plans on spending at least one night at his family's home and enjoy some home cooking.
When Edmonton takes on the Canadiens tomorrow, Perron and his teammates understand the history and the atmosphere that comes with playing in Monrtreal.
"It's just unreal," said Perron.
"It's like a dream every time. If you would pick one game in your life to play in the NHL, it'd be that one. It would be better if it were a playoff game or Stanley Cup game but we'll eventually get there hopefully."
Perron has proven himself well in his time with Edmonton. A trade acquisition this off-season, the winger has earned top-six minutes with his physical play and offensive skill set and has even taken a bit of an agitator role with the team. It's that aspect which has drawn praise from his head coach.
"I love his competitiveness," said Head Coach Dallas Eakins. "As much skill as he has, he's got that little bit of nasty in him. I'm not surprised by it. When I was working for the team that I used to work for, I actually went to see Perron play in the Memorial Cup. You could see his compete level even then. He's really brought that here and it's something that slowly will rub off on the whole group."
Perron has six points (1-5-6) in nine games this season.