Friday, December 17, 2010

Knuckles Cammalleri helps Habs pass gut check

Circumstances dictated that we would find out last night what the 2010-2011 Canadiens are made of, and it turns out they're constructed of pretty sturdy stuff. Call it what you will: a revelation, a statement game, a turning point - they're all apt descriptions of what transpired in a 4-3 win over Boston at the Bell Center. Mired in a season-worst three game losing streak and just ahead of two weeks and seven games on the road over the holidays, the Habs stepped up in a big way by beating their most hated rival in a game that solidified Montreal's standing atop the Northeast Division, and made the difference between third and eighth place in the Eastern Conference because of the seeding formula favoring division leaders. There was huge potential for emotional letdown coming off a hard-fought and demoralizing setback the previous night against Philadelphia, but the Canadiens went to war in more ways than one and drew no shortage of inspiration from Mike Cammalleri, who not only opened the scoring by turning Tim Thomas inside out on a penalty shot, but set a warrior's example in a spirited if inexpert fight with David Krejci in a completely unexpected battle of traditional non-belligerents. Pierre Bouchard versus Stan Jonathan or John Kordic against Jay Miller it was not, but the Cammalleri dust-up typified the the Canadiens resolve on a night when their character was put to as stiff a test as they've faced so far this season.

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