- The Washington Times - Monday, April 26, 2010

MONTREAL | Hey, Patrick Roy, Jacques Plante, Ken Dryden and the rest of Montreal’s goaltending greats — the Canadiens’ centennial party has come and gone, and Jaroslav Halak has written the first page in the storied team’s second century of playoff history.

Halak made 53 saves, and Michael Cammalleri scored twice in the first period for eighth-seeded Montreal, which stayed alive with a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Monday night and forced a Game 7 in the first-round series.

The Slovakian made 18 saves in the first, 14 in the second, and 21 in the third. He came within 4:50 of his first playoff shutout.

Halak, who stopped 37 shots in Friday’s 2-1 victory in Washington, won his second straight start despite the top-seeded Capitals’ 54-22 advantage in shots.

“It’ll be on ESPN Classic tomorrow as one of the greatest goalie performances,” said Cammalleri, who scored a hat trick in the Canadiens’ 100th anniversary game on Dec. 4. “He was making saves that were just exceptional. I couldn’t have been more impressed.”

Cammalleri, who opened the scoring in Game 5, put Montreal up 1-0 with a power-play goal 7:30 in. He added his second of the game — fifth of the series — at 9:09 to make it 2-0.

“We came out strong in the first period,” said Halak, who topped Dryden’s team record of 49 saves in a regulation playoff game, set in 1971. “We got the lead again like the last game and I thought that was really huge for us because we played at home in front of 21,000 people and they were screaming, they were really loud.”

Game 7 is Wednesday night at Washington.

“Everybody picked them to win and they’re supposed to win,” Cammalleri said. “The pressure’s on them but at the same time we don’t feel any moral victories. We’re going to go to Washington excited about playing a hockey game and we’re going to play our best game and let the results take care of themselves.”

Maxim Lapierre drove a slap shot past Semyon Varlamov from the right side for Montreal’s third goal 3:17 into the third.

Eric Fehr scored his third goal at 15:10 on Washington’s 52nd shot to spoil Halak’s shutout bid. It wasn’t enough for the Capitals, who had led the series 3-1.

“We’re just going to keep going and we’ll see if he’s able to keep that up,” Fehr said. “We’re going to go home and we’re going to try and put even more pucks on him and see if he can keep them in it.”

Tomas Plekanec scored into an empty net with 56.5 seconds remaining, bringing a standing ovation from the crowd. The fans stayed on their feet through the final siren. Their cheers reached a peak when Halak was announced as the game’s first star.

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said Halak’s performance conjured up memories of Washington’s playoff series against Philadelphia and the New York Rangers over the past few years.

“We make goalies feel unbelievable,” Ovechkin said. “When we played against Philly, (Martin) Biron was good. (Henrik) Lundqvist was good. And this year we just made Halak feel good. It’s always this team being good and we’ll find a way to break it and win it. No panic, nothing.”

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