MONTREAL (AP)—Mike Cammalleri got the Montreal Canadiens out to an early lead, then helped them recover from a two-goal deficit by completing his third career hat trick with an unassisted effort in overtime.
Cammalleri scored his third goal of the game 2:42 into the extra period to give Montreal a 5-4 win over the New York Rangers on Saturday night.
“Yeah, it’s a special night,” said Cammalleri, who scored 39 goals last season with Calgary. “It’s early in my Montreal career on a Saturday night and for us to get a big win and to get the hat trick is very special, I’m not going to underplay that.”
Cammalleri scored his second goal of the game late in the second period as Montreal tallied three times in the middle period to tie it at 4.
Cammalleri, who opened the scoring at 4:16 of the first, scored 18:58 into the second to draw the Canadiens even after Matt D’Agostini(notes) and Marc-Andre Bergeron(notes) scored earlier in the period.
Gilroy got his second of the season with 57.7 seconds left in the first as the Rangers scored three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 lead after Artem Anisimov(notes) and Ales Kotalik(notes) scored earlier in the period.
Lundqvist made 26 saves for New York, which had lost its two previous games following a seven-game winning streak.
“The effort was there,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said. “They came out and really came at us, and then we took over the game. And then we lost momentum by really beating ourselves with turnovers and penalties.”
Scott Gomez(notes) had two assists for Montreal in his first game against the Rangers since he was traded to the Canadiens on June 30 in a multiplayer deal that freed up salary cap space that allowed New York to sign Gaborik.
Gomez, who has five years and $33.5 million left on the seven-year contract he signed with New York, was given an unsportsmanlike conduct minor 5:22 into the third, negating a Montreal power play.
Referee Dan O’Rourke ruled that the Canadiens’ center had dived in an attempt to draw a hooking penalty against Ryan Callahan(notes) while the Rangers were already short-handed after Michael Del Zotto(notes) was sent off for tripping D’Agostini along the boards.
D’Agostini helped start the Canadiens’ comeback when he scored his first of the season at 8:48 of the second period to draw Montreal within 3-2. After stripping the puck off Brandon Dubinsky(notes) in the neutral zone, D’Agostini followed Maxim Lapierre(notes) down the ice. With Dubinsky trailing him, Lapierre passed across the goalmouth to D’Agostini, who slapped the puck past Lundqvist before the net became dislodged.
Gaborik restored New York’s two-goal margin at 4-2 when he beat Halak on a breakaway at 11:56 for his second goal in as many games.
Montreal closed to 4-3 when Bergeron scored a power-play goal for the second straight game on a 5-on-3 advantage at 15:26.
On the ice for Cammalleri’s tying goal, Higgins took a high-sticking penalty 14:41 into the second and gave Montreal the two-man advantage that led to Bergeron’s goal.
“The game’s going our way and it’s a turnover in the neutral zone by (Dubinsky) that—it just can’t happen,” Tortorella said. “We have stressed that, especially after the last game, and it’s just a huge momentum swing. If you’re not helping us in one area and you make mistakes in that area, then you’re just going to lose your time.
“And (Higgins) is a guy that I think we’ve been patient with. It’s a penalty that puts us down 5-on-3, but the backcheck on the goal, we get beat up the ice—again, if you’re not helping us offensively you need to do the other things and there has to be some consequences to this.”
Cammalleri finished off a nice passing play with linemates Gomez and Gionta to give Montreal an early 1-0 lead. Gionta fell after taking a pass from Gomez, though he still managed to swipe the puck across to Cammalleri, who put a shot into the right side before Lundqvist could get across.
“Once (Gomez) gave it to me I knew we had a 2-on-1 and I got tripped up there,” Gionta said. “I knew (Cammalleri) was still back door so I just tried to get it across, and it went over the ‘D’s stick and right to him.”
^Notes: Higgins was selected 14th overall by the Canadiens in the first round of the 2002 draft. He had 84 goals and 67 assists in 282 games with Montreal. … Cammalleri recorded his first two hat tricks with the Flames last season. … Canadiens D Paul Mara(notes) faced New York for the first time since he left the Rangers as a free agent to sign a one-year deal with Montreal on July 10. Mara had eight goals and 35 assists in 156 games with the Rangers in parts of three seasons from 2007-09.