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Home, sweet home

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
MONTREAL – After a late-night flight out of Washington, the Canadiens spent Sunday afternoon regrouping with a team meeting, a light workout and a friendly game of soccer to get prepped for Game 3 on Monday night. With a split decisions packed in their carry-on luggage from the U.S. capital, the Habs couldn’t wait to get the party started for real here in Montreal.

The extra man: Finally back in the friendly confines of the Bell Centre for Game 3 and 4 this week, some of the new Habs on the block couldn’t wait to see just how much of an advantage home ice really is in Montreal.

“Home ice is huge. We learned that in Washington – playing in the Capitals’ building isn’t easy,” explained Brian Gionta. “Now we’re back in Montreal at the Bell Centre. The fans here love the team and it’s going to be crazy. Playing my first regular season game here was special, but getting to play in the playoffs here is really something else.”

For his part, Quebec native Marc-Andre Bergeron is looking forward to having those crucial 21,273 extra players in his corner on Monday night.

“Tomorrow, we have a chance to play in front of our crowd and we have to take advantage of that,” stressed Bergeron. “It’s definitely an advantage and not a distraction. Some guys will be more nervous at the start of the game, but in the end, it’s going to help us. We’re tied 1-1 now, so it’s a best-of-five series and we’ve got three home games ahead. It’s exciting.”

Logan Metropolit?: Despite receiving a six to eight week prognosis for a separated shoulder suffered on March 27, Glen Metropolit seems to be channelling his inner Wolverine and is willing his shoulder back to health well ahead of schedule. His coach called Metro a game-time decision for Monday night, and the 34-year-old himself was itching to get back into mix.

“It feels good to be this close to coming back, especially at this time of year,” admitted Metropolit, who was on the road with his teammates for the opening two games of the series last week. “I’m excited to get back into the mix. It’s really been a roller coaster – I was in the press box for Game 2 and I was bouncing up and down the entire time!”

Days of our lives: When you’re playing in a best-of-seven series against the NHL’s most exuberant superstar, there’s bound to be at least a little billboard material popping up between games.  After Alex Ovechkin claimed he saw a shaky Jaroslav Halak between the pipes in Washington on Saturday night, Michael Cammalleri was more interested in tuning in to see who was about to get voted off the island on Monday night.

“It’s awesome. It’s a little bit of a Soap Opera. It’s our version of whatever reality TV show you’re watching right now and that’s pretty cool. You get the heroes and villains out there as they say… but who are the heroes and who are the villains?” laughed Cammalleri, who has emerged as one of the Habs’ playoff heroes with four points in the first two games against the Caps so far.

“The game has changed a little bit that way,” continued the 27-year-old sniper. “It used to be that you don’t say anything and I don’t think we’re giving up all that much, but I have no problem with personalities like Alex Ovechkin. I think guys should be able to express themselves and there should be a little individuality – as long as your teammates appreciate it that’s all that matters.”

As for the alleged nerves Ovi claimed he saw in the Canadiens’ crease in the Caps’ 6-5 OT win, that was one story line Cammy definitely wasn’t buying into. 

“I think Jaro’s a pretty calm, cool, collected cat in that net and I’ve never seen him shaking. I’m not worried about it,” declared Cammalleri. “From what I’ve heard, they seem to be feeling good about themselves over there. It’s good for the game. Ovechkin’s a candid guy and I love a little flair in the game.”

Shauna Denis is a writer for

See also:
Playoff central
Backstrom's OT goal gives Caps 6-5 win  
Split decision 
The Numbers game - April 17, 2010 
Flying out of the gate 
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