BOSTON – Mike Cammalleri says there wasn’t much reaction among the Montreal players when they got word Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara would not be playing Saturday.
There was work to be done by the visitors, whether six-foot-nine defenceman was in the lineup or not.
“The talk was kind of ‘Let’s do a lot of the same (things) we’ve been trying to do. We weren’t going to try and change our game much but, definitely try to make it as hard as we can on their defencemen,” Cammalleri said after scoring the first goal in the Canadiens’ 3-1 win over the Bruins.
“You’re getting ready for these games, there’s so much going on as far as information and trying to prepare yourself for what we have to do that it’s hard really to focus much on the opponent, other than tactically what you think they might be doing,” added Cammalleri, whose team head home up 2-0 in the best-of-seven first-round series.
“It was kinda like, ‘Oh, OK,’ then we just kinda settled in and said, ‘OK, let’s see what we’re going to do here,’ and really a lot of the same.”
Chara, who was hospitalized Friday night with dehydration, took part in the warmup, but coach Claude Julien said, there was “no way he could have played.”
Julien said the hope is that Chara will be able to go Monday night at the Bell Centre when the Bruins will play their first game in Montreal since the big Boston defenceman put Habs winger Max Pacioretty in the hospital with a controversial hit March 8.
The Canadiens will have history on their side. The Bruins are 0-26 all-time when trailing a series 0-2, while the Habs are 48-4 when up 2-0.
Cammalleri, skating with centre Tomas Plekanec and right-winger Travis Moen, helped shut down the line of the David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton for the second straight game. The offence was a bonus.
“It’s part of our responsibility as a unit is to provide some offence, so it’s something that we take seriously,” Cammalleri said. “Like any other job, when you do it, you feel good about it. But even more so, we’re trying to take a lot of pride in playing solid both ways and have a lot of respect for the talent level of the guys we’re playing against.”
They’re doing the job well, and now the Canadiens can look forward to playing in front of the rabid Bell Centre crowd.
“I think they’ll be excited—that building will be as loud as it gets,” Cammalleri said. “For us it’s a much different approach. It’s ‘Let’s settle in here and let’s refocus quickly because we’re going to be in for a tough one in Game 3.”
Notes: Montreal goalie Carey Price said the Bruins followed through on their plan to get more pucks and more action to the net, but again credited his teammates for making his job easier. The Habs blocked 27 shots, five by Hal Gill. … Cammalleri has 24 points in 27 career playoff games. … Gill played in his 100th NHL playoff game. … The Habs killed off four more power plays and are 20-for-20 in their last six games.