Montreal Canadiens prospect Andrighetto gets a taste of the NHL

A small group of Hamilton Bulldogs were called up to help get the Canadiens ready for the Boston Bruins during a nine-game break before the second round. Rookie Sven Andrighetto looks forward to playing in Montreal as soon as they'll let him.

Hamilton Bulldogs forward helped keep Montreal Canadiens players sharp before facing Boston

Hamilton Bulldog rookie Sven Andrighetto has been helping the Montreal Canadiens players stay sharp while preparing for the Boston Bruins in round two of the NHL playoffs. (Courtesy: Hamilton Bulldogs)

From the rafters of the Bell Centre, Sven Andrighetto got goosebumps as the Montreal Canadiens wrapped up their round one series with a sweep of the Tampa Bay Lighting. 

After all, it was only the second time he's seen a National Hockey League game live. For most 21-year-olds, that might be completely normal.

But when you're an injury away from actually playing the game, it's a little different.

"It's something special to experience," said Andrighetto, a rookie with the Hamilton Bulldogs who finished the season with 44 points in 64 games, good for second on the Habs Hamilton affiliate. He's in town to keep the Canadiens sharp and be ready himself should an injury open a spot on the roster for him to fill in.

"I've never experienced something like that," said Andrighetto, a native of Zurich, Switzerland who has spent most his time playing in Europe before playing two seasons in the QMJHL. "It was so loud, it gave me goosebumps. It makes me want to play even more there and makes me more excited to work hard to get there one day."

Andrighetto is one of several Bulldogs called up to Montreal after the American Hockey League affiliate missed the Calder Cup Playoffs. The team finished last in the AHL North Division with a record of 27 wins, 36 losses, 7 overtime losses and 6 shootout losses.

Trying not to 'bother' the NHLers

The Habs, meanwhile, had a nine-day break in action before Thursday night's round two opening win in Boston against the Bruins. 

The Bulldogs players were called in for an intrasquad game to keep the Habs sharp.

"It was a great experience. It was good to be around playoff atmosphere," Andrighetto said of the experience. "The game itself wasn't that serious because we didn't want to injure other players, obviously." 

The 'Dogs were in a separate dressing room, and are trying to not "bother" the NHLers while they prepare. But they are getting to take in the Montreal atmosphere, something Andrighetto says is hard to ignore in Montreal.

"It's everywhere you go," said Andrighetto. "On T.V., its all about Montreal, newspapers, all about Montreal - it's crazy how the whole city is about the playoffs and focusing on it."

Andrighetto doesn't have to look to far for inspiration on the ice either. The current edition of the Montreal Canadiens includes nine players who made the jump from Hamilton to Montreal including stars Carey Price, PK Subban and Max Pacioretty.

Game two goes Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada starting at 12:00 p.m. ET, with the puck drop at 12:30 p.m.

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