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Rivalry rollercoaster

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

MONTREAL – The Canadiens got the effort they were hoping for in Saturday night’s game – just not the result.

The Habs’ weekend heartbreaker had the familiar feeling of their recent tilt against the Colorado Avalanche. Both match-ups were high scoring, hard fought battles that saw the Canadiens tie the game and take the lead in the third frame, only to surrender a goal and ultimately lose in overtime/shootout.

“At the end of the second period, we had a really positive vibe in the room. We wanted those two points. We were playing to win. We scored twice, we took the lead and everything was going well for about 15 minutes. Then we lost it. I don’t know what happened, but it’s not the way this team is used to playing,” expressed Lars Eller, arguably the Canadiens’ best player on the night. Combining with Travis Moen and Andrei Kostitsyn, the 22-year-old Dane finished the night with two assists and a plus-3 rating.

“I would have traded my two points tonight in for two points for the team any day of the week,” added Eller. “It’s frustrating, that’s for sure.”

Off to a strong start in 2011-12, Moen finished the night with impressive numbers of his own, also posting a plus-3 rating and scoring two goals, including a shorthanded marker in the first.

“I’m trying to keep my game simple. I’m going hard to the net and trying to get the dirty goals. I’m also getting the chance to play with two great players in Lars and Andrei. If we keep going like that we’ll start to see some wins,” mentioned Moen in praise of Eller who set up his first goal of the night with a picture-perfect saucer pass.

“Lars is a dynamic player. He very quick in the neutral zone, he has great vision, good hands and a strong shot. He’s an easy guy to play with. The team played with passion tonight,” finished Moen. “We had fresh legs and even if we ended up on the wrong side of things there are still some positives to take away.”

Celebrating his milestone 500th NHL game Michael Cammalleri also chipped in offensively for the Habs with a game-tying goal early in the third.

“I think we have to be very practical about assessing tonight’s game and look at the fact that we have eight available points this week and if we keep playing the way we did tonight, we should be able to come up with some of them,” said the Habs’ No. 13, his sights already set on Monday and the Panthers.

“I felt that we had a sense of jump, urgency and execution to our game. The effort wasn’t lacking, we just wish things would have turned out the other way.”

Justin Fragapane is a writer for

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