Sorry Michael, it couldn’t last forever.
After shutting out the Canadiens in each of the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals, Flyers goalie Michael Leighton was beaten five times in a resounding 5-1 Habs win in Game 3. With his name being chanted by the Bell Centre faithful for all the wrong reasons, Leighton looked human for the first time this spring. Being an opposing goalie in Montreal at this time of year can do that to a fella.
“He’s played really great, but we had a feeling that all we had to do was get that first one by him,” admitted Scott Gomez. “Kirky [Muller] has been harping on us too, that we just had get one past him and when Cammy finally did, I think all of us just relaxed and thought: ‘Alright we can do this’.”
Chief among those who gained a little swagger from Cammalleri’s goose-egg smashing goal in the first period was the line of Maxim Lapierre, Dominic Moore and Tom Pyatt. Tenacious checkers by trade, the blue-collar trio chipped in with a pair of goals including the eventual game-winner by Pyatt.
“Guys like Moore, Lappy and Pysey are getting rewarded for their hard work and that’s what playing at this time of year is all about,” said Gomez. “You can have all the speed in the world as a team, but you have to go to the front of the net and get your nose dirty to get the job done.”
On paper it may look as though the Habs spontaneously combusted in Game 3, magically beginning to fill the net as they did against both the Capitals and Penguins. But in fact the seeds of this crucial, momentum-swinging win were sown in the Habs’ tough 3-0 loss in Game 2 on Tuesday in Philadelphia. Even the guy who opened the floodgates could’ve told you that.
“Don’t get me wrong, it felt good and we needed to score to win, but I really think that the result really drives the talk. I think we did some things ok in the last game, too,” explained Cammalleri, the league’s top playoff scorer with 13 goals. “We lose 3-0 and it’s our second game without scoring so for everyone in this room and for everyone watching, it’s a big deal. For us, we liked the way we played and we really thought the goal was going to come.”
Come it did and not a moment too soon.
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com.
Scott Gomez comments
Jacques Martin comments
Roman Hamrlik comments
P.K. Subban comments
Dominic Moore comments
Cammy, Gionta and Halak comments
The Numbers Game - May 20, 2010
It starts with one