TORONTO — Mike Cammalleri is ready to put any talk about a Montreal Canadiens makeover to rest.
“I don’t even want to talk about new Habs any more, we’re all Habs now, we’ve passed through training camp, this is our team,” said Cammalleri after his Canadiens kicked off the season with a 4-3 overtime win versus the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“It’s all about moving forward with this group and there’s no such thing as new Habs or old Habs now, it’s just this team.”
Seven Canadiens were making their red, white and blue debut in Toronto on Thursday, with two of them free agent signees Brian Gionta and Travis Moen finding the back of the net.
Gionta was happy to net his first goal as a Hab right off the hop.
“It feels good,” said the former New Jersey Devil. “Any time you can get it out of the way early on in the season, it’s nice.”
Along with centre Scott Gomez, Gionta and Cammalleri were brought in to put up points. The six-foot-two, 215-pound Moen was inked for his robust physical play and championship pedigree, having won a Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007.
He bagged the Canadiens’ only 5-on-5 goal against the Leafs, while getting in a pair of fights, including one against former Montreal blue-liner Mike Komisarek.
“That’s my game, physical, finish my hits,” Moen said. “There might not be two fights every game, we’ll cut back on that. But yeah, definitely, it’s a pretty simple game I play.”
Moen skated mainly on a fourth line with Glen Metropolit and tough guy Georges Laraque, a trio that turned in a highly serviceable game given their limited ice time.
Metropolit, who tied the game with a late power-play goal, talked about his new teammate and linemate.
“Travis is such a good player,” he said. “He’s strong on the puck and Georgie compliments our line too, he kind of gives us an extra inch, or me an extra inch anyway.”
Cammalleri picked up his first point as a Hab when he made a strong play driving to the net in overtime before Josh Gorges pounced on a loose puck to plot the winner. The left winger, who grew up just outside Toronto in Richmond Hill, has already acclimatized himself to his new hockey home.
“It’s been a pretty intimate experience already living in Montreal and with this team, with the boys,” Cammalleri said. “I feel like a Canadien for sure.”