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Perfect combos

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
OTTAWA – The Canadiens’ offense is firing on all cylinders.

Finding the perfect chemistry on a line is never an exact science. After trying different combinations and permutations in the first few weeks of the campaign, Jacques Martin seems to have found his winning formula.

Since joining forces on October 22, the Canadiens’ top trio of Michael Cammalleri, David Desharnais and Erik Cole has racked up an impressive six goals and eight assists. With six goals and six assists of their own in that same span, the line of Travis Moen, Lars Eller and Andrei Kostitsyn isn’t far behind.

“There are still some things  we have to do a little bit better, but we still did some good things,” offered Cole, who scored his third goal of the season against the Sens “As a group, we did a lot of good things – all four lines. We’ve kept the same combinations for the past week or so. The guys are starting to build some chemistry like that and let’s hope it will continue.”

Cammalleri may be better known for scoring goals than setting them up, but the Habs sniper is far from a one-trick pony. With three goals and three assists in nine games this season, the 29-year-old winger has been showcasing some of the balanced play he prides himself on.

“I always try to make whatever play gives us the best odds of scoring. I’m going to pass it if I think the pass is open,” described Cammalleri, who set up Cole’s opening goal with a perfect cross-crease feed. “I saw Colesy open and I actually thought I’d get the goalie to bite more – he read it pretty well. It was a nice shot.

“I try my best to sell the pass but I guess you might have a book on certain guys,” admitted Cammalleri, who has four 20-plus goal seasons under his belt. “If I see someone open who’s in a better position to score, I’m always going to pass it. If I think the play is the shot, I’ll shoot it. I try to play offensively off of instinct and not try to second-guess that too much.”

Those offensive instincts seem to be paying off. During the Canadiens’ current four-game win streak, the team has scored 13 goals – four of which have come off the sticks of Cammalleri, Desharnais or Cole.

“I really like our line – I think we have a nice mix,” offered Cammalleri. “Davey is a guy who likes to get the puck and have his head up and make plays and that really allows me to get a lot of puck touches in the offensive zone.”

Leading the team with 31 hits, Cole has helped open up ice for his skilled linemates. The 6-foot-2 power forward’s willingness to sacrifice his body has also been paying off on the scoresheet.

“Erik and I are kind of playing off each other,” added Cammalleri. “He really goes to the net hard and uses his speed to create space for both me and Davey. I’ve always enjoyed playing with guys who play that give-and-go style of game. I felt the chemistry right away when we first got the chance to play together.”

Shauna Denis is a writer for

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