Tuesday night’s contest was definitely an emotional roller coaster.
The disallowed goal early in the first period sent the Bell Center crowd into a fury, leading them to hurl debris on to the ice.
The anger soon turned to elation as the Habs went up 1-0 over the Bruins with a laser beam from Michael Cammalleri that sent Tim Thomas’ water bottle into the air.
Although the Bruins would tie it up early in the second period, the Canadiens would capitalize on two bonehead Boston penalties that would give Montreal a 5 on 3 advantage.
After analyzing both Montreal goals, something very interesting became apparent. The Habs made a very important adjustment with Mike Cammalleri.
The first goal was one of those vintage Cammalleri one-timers we saw for much of last season. He set himself up along the right hashmarks and threw all his weight behind a perfect slap shot, all the while gaining style points for dropping to one knee.
The second goal was similar in that the scoring chance originated from another Cammalleri one-timer, from the same spot, that Tim Thomas simply couldn’t handle.
Where was that this season?
For some reason, Mike Cammalleri had distanced himself from what had served him so well the year before. Cammalleri’s power play positioning differed tremensously in his second season with the Habs.
Rather than hover around the hashmarks and wait for a pass, Cammy morphed into more of a rover this year. He could often be found circling the net, playing the point, or battling for the puck along the boards. Seeing him in his sweet spot became a rarity.
Earlier in the year, it was understandable that Cammalleri had to switch up his game. With Markov out of the lineup, and Subban just getting used to playing the point, opposition teams simply focused on taking away Cammalleri’s sweet spot in order to neutralize the Habs power play.
This should have changed with the arrival of James Wisniewski however.
Wisniewski gave the Habs a second major weapon on the PP, which should have taken away the opposition’s ability to take Cammalleri out of his comfort zone. Penalty killing teams simply can’t take away two areas of the ice at one time.
For some reason, Cammalleri wasn’t able to reclaim his favorite spot on the ice. Even after Wisniewski joined the club, Cammy continued to stray away from what made him such a success the year before. The team’s power play efficiency would proceed to suffer, dropping over two points from last season.
He was out of his comfort zone and their simply isn’t an explanation as to why he would change his game so dramatically.
Last night’s game showed us the Cammalleri we all grew to love last year.
Whether it was a result of the coaching staff getting in his ear, the reviewing of game tape, or perhaps the Team990 having a gypsy curse removed from him earlier in the day, Cammalleri went back to basics.
On both of his team’s goals, Cammy absolutely ripped a shot from the right hashmarks that Tim Thomas either couldn’t stop or couldn’t handle.
Life is going to get very difficult for Thomas if Cammalleri commits to creating offense from that area of the ice.
Other Game Notes:
Subban was as steady as a rock last night. No mistakes, no turnovers, just solid two way hockey.
Was it just me or was Scott Gomez absolutely flying last night? He was setting up his linemates, creating turnovers, and looked close as he ever has to earning that paycheck.
Aside from the single Boston goal, Price was stellar.
Paul Mara looked pretty good tonight. In my opinion, he was significantly better than Sopel. He looks quicker and is more willing to play a physical style of game. It’ll be interesting to see what happens is Wisniewski is ready for game 7.
How sad is it that Weber is that much more effective than Pouliot?