MONTREAL - Michael Cammalleri is clearly a money player, especially when it comes to his teammates’ wallets.
With Scott Gomez
and Paul Mara each facing their former teammates for the first time, this visit from the Rangers meant a little more. Make that a lot
“There was definitely some money up on the board tonight, let me put it that way,” admitted Cammalleri. “That’s the first thing Gomer told me after the game, he said ‘Do you know how much you just cost me?’ and then there were just a bunch of bleeps. Pauly got in on it, too, I just haven’t heard anything from him yet. I’m just glad we got the win, especially for those guys since it meant so much to them to be facing their old team for the first time.”
Cammalleri’s lucrative hat-trick was capped by his OT winner, which saw the speedy winger weave his way into the Rangers zone before zipping a wrister past Henrik Lundqvist.
“He did a great job controlling that puck and cutting to the middle on that play and then he wired one heck of a shot,” said Gionta of Cammalleri’s brilliant solo effort in the extra frame. “We’ve been getting our chances so far and pucks have just found ways not to go in for us. Cammy always goes to the net and it sure paid off tonight.”
Among those who were snake-bitten and goal-starved to start the season, Cammalleri is now red-hot with four goals in his last two games and has now taken over the team lead with 11 points.
“I think most goal scorers tend to produce in bunches,” shrugged Cammalleri, who enjoyed no less than eight games with three or more points last season in Calgary. “I just go out there trying to score on every shift.”
Steered by the media horde to bask in the glow of his first hat-trick as a Hab, Cammalleri instead focused on the bigger picture.
“Coming off a couple of wins like we were and then to face a little adversity being down 3-1 and come back for the win makes this a really a special win for us as a group,” said Cammalleri. “You can see with every game how much more comfortable we’re getting playing with each other. We’re starting to make instinct plays where you don’t always have to look around to see where guys are. That’s the best way to catch defensemen on their heels.”
Cammalleri’s recent explosion has come as no surprise to his head coach, who despite nasty rumors to the contrary, actually likes
to see his team fill the net.
“It might not show in the end results, but Mike was our leader in scoring chances in the first five games, with 14, even though he didn’t put them in,” said Jacques Martin, revealing his inner stats geek. “I liked his positive attitude during that stretch and I told him that. I would have been worried if he wasn’t getting any chances, but with his talent, when you do get those opportunities, more often than not, they end up in the back of the net.”
Lundqvist can attest to that. Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com See alsoRecapThe Numbers GameWhat's your Top-10 week 3The Voice of the FansThe Streak is On!