BROSSARD -- After games in Buffalo, Boston and Ottawa, the Kings continue their tour of the NHL’s north-eastern division with a stop in Montreal, taking on the Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
While after five seasons with the Kings Michael Cammalleri might know the L.A. club better than anyone else on his team, the Habs’ sniper doesn’t plan on holding anything back when the puck drops against his old friends.
“We’re trying to bounce back right now with the same kind of feeling we had after the loss to the Predators. We had a serious day of work yesterday and I think we’re excited to go up against a team that we don’t get to play very often in the Kings,” explained Cammalleri, who suited up for 283 games with Los Angeles.
“I have some friends over there that were younger than me when I played there, like Anze Kopitar and a few others. It’s great to see those guys again. I had a lot of close ties there from my days in L.A.”
Habs’ center Jeff Halpern may not have spent as many games in a Kings jersey but he’s still well aware what the visiting team brings to the table.
“The Kings are a great hockey team made up by a great group of guys both on and off the ice and I had a good experience while I was there. Part of the reason Montreal is such a special place to play is the incredible amount of history here and the standard they set as an organization,” pointed out Halpern, who signed with the Canadiens over the off-season.
“That’s why I think it’s great that L.A. has Luc Robitaille as part of their management team. You want to have that type of player as part of the club to give the guys that are there right now a feeling for the kind of history their team has.”
While Canadiens’ coach Jacques Martin may not have the same ties to the Kings as some of his players, he still has a keen understanding of who and what his squad will be up against when the teams hit the Bell Centre ice Wednesday night.
“They’re a very well-balanced team with three good lines that can produce offensively. They’re a big group, they like to shoot a lot and they go hard to the net,” said Martin, while also pointing out the Habs will likely have their hand full in the offensive zone as well. “They have two young elite defensemen in Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson who we’re going to have to pay attention to and put up a strong effort against.”
Looking at the goaltender set to face his team, it comes as little surprise to Martin that Jonathan Bernier will be between the pipes for L.A.
“He’s a going to be a great goaltender for their organization. They did a good job of developing him in the American League. I’m sure he’ll be excited to come to Montreal and play in front of his family and friends, like all guys from Quebec are. It’s up to us to make sure we have a strong presence in front of his net and take advantage of his rebounds.”Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.SEE ALSOGame preview: Canadiens vs. KingsCanadiens Blood Donor Clinic Preliminary results for NHL All-Star Fan voting