Canadiens storm back
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.
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.
"We are a much better team when our backs are against the wall," Gionta said. "We've dealt with it all year."
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.
"For the crowd and everybody to get into it and really start enjoying the night, that momentum kind of helped us," Cammalleri said. "Yeah, winning is fun."
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!"
Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is Saturday in Montreal.
Referring to the loss 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," he said. "They answered the bell, and now it's our turn to get back at it in Game 4."
The Canadiens' strategy to get more traffic in front to make it harder on Leighton worked to perfection on their opening goal.
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.
"I felt OK. I'm not going to dwell on them scoring that many goals," Leighton 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."
Pyatt scored during a first-period scramble after Flyers defenseman Chris 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.
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 top-seeded Washington in the first round. Montreal never led in its second-round series against Pittsburgh before winning Game 7.
Now it's the Flyers turn to respond after coming up flat for the first time since they rallied against Boston.
It's not as if Leighton had a bad game. He was a big difference in keeping the game close through 30 minutes before Moore's shot through a crowd made it a three-goal game.
Down 1-0, Leighton stopped Moore from banging in a rebound in front and then, seconds later, got his shoulder on Lapierre's shot from the slot.
Halak was sharp, too, especially in the opening minutes. He foiled James Van Riemsdyk's tip-in attempt from in close 3:30 into the game. Two minutes later, Halak held his ground to stop Ville Leino's one-timer from the slot.
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