Cammalleri helps Canadiens beat Flyers 5-1
AP Sports Writer
MONTREAL (AP) – Michael Cammalleri and the Montreal Canadiens finally solved Michael Leighton.
Cammalleri scored in the first period to end Montreal’s two-game drought against Leighton, leading the Canadiens to a 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final on Thursday night.
Tom Pyatt and Dominic Moore had a goal and assist apiece for Montreal, which earned its first win in the series. Brian Gionta and Marc-Andre Bergeron also scored as Leighton’s shutout streak was snapped at 172:05.
“It’s a big deal for us, don’t get me wrong,” Cammalleri said. “But for us, we like the way we play, and we thought the goals were going to come.”
Philadelphia’s Simon Gagne foiled Jaroslav Halak’s shutout bid by scoring 8:22 into the third period. Leighton stopped 33 shots.
The Flyers had won six straight, dating to their second-round series win over Boston during which they overcame a 3-0 series deficit. It was Leighton’s first loss in five starts since taking over after Brian Boucher hurt his knee.
Cammalleri got it started with his team-leading 13th goal, opening the scoring 7:05 into the game. Halak finished with 25 saves.
The eighth-seeded Canadiens are proving to be very resilient this postseason. Montreal already has rallied to eliminate top-seeded Washington and Pittsburgh.
“We are a much better team when our backs are against the wall,” Gionta said. “We’ve dealt with it all year.”
The seventh-seeded Flyers know something about bouncing back, too, after rallying to beat Boston in the second round.
Referring to the loss to the Canadiens as “a wake-up call,” Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger said it’s their turn to respond.
“I don’t think you want to forget it. I think you need to use it and feed off it,” Pronger said. “They answered the bell, and now it’s our turn to get back at it in Game 4.”
The best-of-seven series resumes on Saturday in Montreal.
Playing their first game at home in 10 days, the Canadiens outshot Philadelphia 28-13 in building a 3-0 lead on Moore’s goal midway through the second period. Moore’s score sent the raucous sellout crowd of 21,273 into a fury, leading to derisive chants of “Leighton! Leighton!”
Leighton allowed one more goal than he had given up previously over the entire postseason.
“I felt OK. I’m not going to dwell on them scoring that many goals,” he said. “We didn’t think we were going to win this series 4-0 so we’re just going to regroup. They’re back in the series and the next game’s big for us.”
Getting more traffic in front paid off on the Canadiens’ first two goals.
Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Kostitsyn were parked in front in the first when PK Subban took a slap shot from the right point. Kostitsyn caught a piece of the shot and deflected it wide, but the puck took a strange carom off the end board and bounced directly to Cammalleri at the left post, where he snapped it in off Leighton’s glove.
During Leighton’s shutout streak, the Flyers outscored their opponents 13-0, dating to their 4-3 win against Boston in Game 7 of their second-round series.
Pyatt then scored during a scramble in front 10 minutes later, and after Pronger uncharacteristically coughed up the puck in his own end. The puck rolled to Moore, whose shot from the right circle was tipped in front by Maxim Lapierre and off the inside of the right post.
The puck squirted in front, where Pyatt had it go in off his stick and skate.
Phew, said Scott Gomez.
“Hey, we’ve got to get one by him, whether you like it or not, that’s the only way we’re going to win,” Gomez said. Referring to Cammalleri’s goal, he added: “That kind of loosened everyone up. Let’s not kid ourselves.”
The Canadiens certainly were having fun again, and goading on the Flyers. Up 3-0, Cammalleri and Flyers forward Daniel Carcillo got into a shoving match in the corner. As the linesman attempted to separate the two players, Cammalleri smiled and stuck his tongue out at Carcillo.
The Canadiens have shown an ability to bounce back from adversity this postseason. They rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to beat Washington in the first round. Montreal never led in its second-round series against Pittsburgh before winning Game 7.
NOTES: Flyers C Jeff Carter took the next step in rehabbing from a broken right foot by participating in his first full team practice earlier in the day. General manager Paul Holmgren was encouraged but wouldn’t provide a timetable as to when Carter could return after missing his 11th game. … Canadiens coach Jacques Martin earned his 47th career playoff win to move into a tie for 23rd on the NHL list with Ron Wilson and Darryl Sutter. … No surprise, Leighton received among the loudest boos from the crowd when the starting lineups were announced. A close second was Gagne, a French-Canadian, who has acknowledged growing up and cheering for the Habs’ former provincial rival Quebec Nordiques.