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The Replacements

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
MONTREAL – With nine Habs sidelined with injuries on Thursday night, the Canadiens’ rising stars had their chance to shine – but they had some pretty good role models to show them the way.

Despite having 5,010 games worth of NHL experience taking in Thursday’s game from the press box, the Habs still found a way to earn a 3-2 shootout win over the fifth-place Lightning.

Brian Gionta's short-handed goal
“It’s a nice two points for us. I don’t know if we’re playing great these days, but we’ll take the two points, for sure. It was a desperate, whatever-it-takes two points,” offered Michael Cammalleri, who fired the game-winner past Dwayne Roloson in the shootout. “We have some pretty good depth to our team – and I guess to the organization – because people seem to be pretty capable when they’re given the minutes.”

Managing to not only slip into the Habs lineup for the first time this year, but also get the tap to shoot first in the shootout, Nigel Dawes made the most of the opportunity he was given against the Lightning.

“I played in New York for Perry [Pearn] and I shot in a lot of shootouts for him so I’m pretty comfortable with it,” explained Dawes, who rewarded his former – and current – coach’s confidence by opening the scoring in the shootout. “I was hoping Perry remembered that, but I was still kind of surprised to be the first guy going.

“I was excited,” he added with a smile. “It’s a good opportunity and you’re not going to score goals if you’re nervous so I just wanted to go out there and try to score.”

He may have been playing his first game for the Canadiens, but with 209 games under his belt, Dawes is far from an NHL rookie.

“It was a great game and obviously everyone bought in,” described the 26-year-old winger, who was leading the Bulldogs with 54 points when he was called up on Wednesday. “The veterans brought a lot. They had a lot of big penalty kills for us at key times and Carey played a great game as usual.

“And Gio’s goal was huge,” he added after seeing the Habs captain notch his seventh career short-handed marker in the third period. “The puck jumped up on him but he stuck with it and it was a great goal. That’s what you expect from your leaders and I’ve seen him do that a lot over the years.” 

Shauna Denis is a writer for

See also:

Postgame comments: Dawes, Palushaj, Cammalleri, Martin
The Numbers Game - March 17, 2011
Every Dog has his day 
My First Game: Lars Eller

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