Mike Cammalleri had one of the most meaningful goals in Montreal Canadiens history, but perhaps he should stick to setting up scores away from the Bell Centre.
After having to settle for a milestone in their last game, Cammalleri and the Canadiens look to end a six-game road trip on a high note Wednesday when they face the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Cammalleri scored the Canadiens’ 20,000th regular-season goal to open the scoring in the first period against Ottawa on Monday night, but Montreal had a four-game winning streak snapped with a 4-2 loss. That total includes all of Montreal’s regular-season goals since joining the NHL as a founding member in 1917, along with the team’s total from eight seasons in the National Hockey Association, the NHL’s predecessor.
“I’m the kind of guy who likes the romantic aspect of hockey,” Cammalleri said. “I’m glad I could be a part of this organization and this is extremely special.”
Of Cammalleri’s team-high 19 goals, five have come on the road. It was his first goal in seven games away from the Bell Centre, but Montreal had its longest streak of wins in regulation this season come to an end.
In the Canadiens’ previous three games, Cammalleri assisted on four of the team’s 12 goals.
Gionta, who has 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in 20 games, had an assist in his first game since Nov. 14. He had been out with a broken foot.
Gionta scored in Montreal’s first matchup with Tampa Bay (15-15-9) this season, but the Canadiens lost 3-1 at home Nov. 7. The Lightning have earned points in six straight games against the Canadiens, going 4-0-2.
Tampa Bay is playing well entering the teams’ latest matchup, winning four of five after a stretch of one win in 11 games. The Lightning beat Boston 2-1 on Monday night, but coach Rick Tocchet want his team to keep its recent success in perspective.
“You need to get to work,” Tampa Bay coach Rick Tocchet said. “We have to learn to be businesslike the next day, the next game. We’ve won four of five and that’s great, but we’re still a .500 hockey club.”
“We’re fighting right now to get into the playoffs, so every game is big for us, especially in our conference,” said Smith, who has given up four goals in two starts versus the Canadiens.
Tanguay has scored in two straight games after failing to find the back of the net in his previous 18. St. Louis, meanwhile, has two goals and six assists during a five-game point streak.