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Mike Cammalleri and Carey Price met the likes of Guy Lafleur, Patrick Roy, Ken Dryden and Frank and Peter Mahovlich prior to the Montreal Canadiens' 100th birthday celebration, then went out and played like them and all of the storied team's greats.
Cammalleri scored three times in the second period and the Canadiens celebrated their centennial anniversary with a 5-1 win over the Boston Bruins on Friday night.
Cammalleri scored twice to put Montreal up 3-0 before completing his fourth career hat trick with the Canadiens' fifth goal late in the middle period, drawing a roar from the sold-out crowd of 21,273 that featured some of the team's former greats, including Jean Beliveau, Lafleur and Roy.
"As I was going around the room I felt like a kid in a candy shop," Cammalleri said about introducing himself to the legendary players prior to the game. "Roy, Dryden, both Mahovlichs, Lafleur, obviously the list goes on and on. Shaking these guys' hands and getting to say hi to them, it was pretty cool. I had this big smile on my face and it was pretty inspiring."
Jaroslav Spacek and Glen Metropolit also scored for Montreal, which ended a four-game losing streak after a nostalgic pregame ceremony that included the surprise jersey retirements for Emile Bouchard and Elmer Lach.
Carey Price, who wore a special anniversary-themed mask, made 37 saves. His shutout bid was spoiled at 4:45 of the third period when Vladimir Sobotka scored on a redirection with the Canadiens up 5-0.
"We were all pretty inspired being able to see all the previous players who have won championships here," Price said. "We all had them behind us."
The Canadiens, who have won a record 24 Stanley Cups, were founded on Dec. 4, 1909.
"It's a very special night for the Montreal Canadiens and the city of Montreal," said Bruins forward Mark Recchi, who led the Canadiens in scoring three times from 1994-99. "It's a great thing and it's a great honor, and it was a great honor to play for the Canadiens."
Tim Thomas made 18 saves in two periods, allowing five goals while his name was chanted derisively by the Bell Centre crowd. Tuukka Rask replaced Thomas to begin the third and stopped six shots.
Spacek opened the scoring 8:30 in and Boston, which hadn't lost in regulation in seven games (6-0-1), was unable to tie it during a 5-on-3 advantage for a full 2 minutes after Spacek and Maxim Lapierre were both penalized for roughing 5:34 into the second.
"Our guys were blocking shots left and right," Price said. "We have to give our guys credit for putting their bodies on the line for the good of the cause."
The crowd, already charged up from the pregame ceremony, responded to the clutch penalty kill with a sustained cheer which only grew louder moments later when Cammalleri beat Thomas from the slot at 8:10 to put the Canadiens up 2-0.
"That was the turning point," Bruins forward Blake Wheeler said. "The crowd, the momentum shifted their way and once that happened that's kind of when they picked up their play and before too long the game was 5-0."
Cammalleri added his second straight goal on an unassisted effort at 13:33 and Glen Metropolit increased the lead to 4-0 when he redirected Hal Gill's pass into the net at the right edge of the crease for his sixth goal at 16:07.
Cammalleri, who recorded his first Montreal hat trick in a 5-4 overtime win over the New York Rangers on Nov. 24, took Scott Gomez's pass and drove a one-timer past Thomas for his team-leading 15th goal.
A couple of dozen hats rained down onto the ice from the crowd - along with a Bruins jersey - and Cammalleri pumped his fist as he sat on the bench while TV images showed Canadiens greats applauding from their seats in luxury boxes.
"That's something I'll never forget, hearing that kind of roar," Cammalleri said. "So thanks to all the fans for that cheer, it was a very special moment."
This program aired on December 5, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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