With greats like Jean Beliveau, Guy Lafleur, Patrick Roy and Ken Dryden watching from luxury suites -- along with Elmer Lach and Butch Bouchard, who had their numbers retired during a 75-minute pregame ceremony -- Cammalleri scored three times in the second period as the present-day Canadiens delighted their predecessors with a 5-1 win over the archrival Boston Bruins on Friday night.
Cammalleri scored his second hat trick as a Canadien and played with noticeable meaning and pride on a night where both attributes were celebrated.
"'Wow' is really all I can come up with,” Cammalleri said of scoring three times on such a memorable night in team history. "It was a very special thing I’ll remember forever. … That was very, very special.”
Cammalleri could be seen on the scoreboard video screen looking around in awe as the hats came pouring down after he scored his third goal at 17:29 of the second period.
"That's something I'll never forget, hearing that kind of roar," Cammalleri said. "So thanks to all the fans for that cheer, it was a very special moment."
His teammates presented him with a commemorative puck for the occasion that he planned on giving to his mother, who attended the big event along with numerous celebrities and dignitaries among the packed house of 21,273.
"My mom is here, so she’ll probably get it," he told the media.
Cammalleri said that he was basically in a surreal state of mind the whole evening, feeling like a kid again as he walked among Habs legends.
"As I was going around the room I felt like a kid in a candy shop,” Cammalleri said with a wide grin. "Roy, Dryden, both Mahovlichs, Lafleur, obviously the list goes on and on. Shaking these guys' hands and getting to say 'hi' to them, it was pretty cool. I had this big smile on my face and it was pretty inspiring.”
Cammalleri was asked if he was able to take a moment and soak in the fact that he was part of the storied tradition of the team.
"I had a moment like that tonight when we were standing there on the ice with the guys and they raised the 100th anniversary banner,” he recalled. "They said there’s 700 some odd names (actually 77) on this banner of all the guys that have worn the jersey in the last 100 years until today -- and I realized that wow, I’m part of that and part of that I get to have my name on the same banner as all those great names.”
On Friday night he cemented his part in the Habs history, coming up in the clutch on a very memorable birthday for the Montreal Canadiens.