The Montreal Canadiens are continuing to embarrass hockey prognosticators and defy logic, as the club with the worst regular-season record to qualify for the playoffs beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 in overtime at the Bell Centre on Thursday to reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1993.
The Habs have been able to stymie clubs with more talent and higher-powered offenses with timely scoring, ferocious forechecking, and a top-four defensive corps that impedes traffic from getting to goalie Carey Price.
Price has been excellent in victories over Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vegas, but has not needed to be superhuman as many had expected would be necessary for Montreal to get to the Cup Final, thanks to Joel Edmundson, Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, and Ben Chiarot.
As with all success stories, luck has been a central component. Montreal benefited from the unfortunate and unintentional injury to Toronto center John Tavares in the first round, enabling them to focus on shutting down Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner and putting pressure on a Leafs’ club who has made a habit of folding at the worst possible time.
In the second round, Jets center Mark Scheifele’s needless check on Montreal forward Jake Evans at the end of Game 1 in the second round deprived Winnipeg of their best forward and made it less of a challenge for the Canadiens to shut the Jets down in a four-game sweep.
Against Vegas, the Habs had to forge forward without interim coach Dominque Ducharme (who tested positive for COVID-19 early in the series) with assistants Luke Richardson and Alex Burrows behind the bench but were able to take advantage of the slower Golden Knights, who could not decide on a starting goalie after Marc-Andre Fleury’s late-game flub in Game 3 and failed to get any consistent offense from their top-six forwards after losing Chandler Stephenson in Game 1.
Latest Canadiens News
- Arizona Coyotes Trade Proposal With Montreal Canadiens
- NHL Rumors: Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils
- NHL Rumors: Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens
- NHL Postseason Dissection: Canadiens, Coyotes Fall Short
- NHL Trade Deadline Grades Part II: Bruins, Panthers Earn High Marks
Rookie Cole Caufield provided some speed when inserted in the Canadiens lineup in Game 3 of the Toronto series, but had only two assists in seven playoff games before the diminutive winger broke out with four goals against the Golden Knights.
Almost every move that GM Marc Bergevin made prior to and during the season has yielded dividends. Josh Anderson has been a physical presence in the playoffs and scored the tying and winning goals in overtime of Game 3, veteran Corey Perry has repeated what he did in Dallas with a great playoff performance after a subpar regular season and youngsters Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi have stepped up their performances as they did in the bubble last August.
The Canadiens will await the result of the deciding game between Tampa Bay and the New York Islanders and take their place as an underdog in the Cup Final starting on Monday, but based on what has happened over the last five weeks, that is just where they want to be.
Ep 29: Stanley Cup Playoffs; Maple Leafs Collapse; End Of An Era For Penguinsby Full Press Coverage on May 18, 2022 at 4:31 am
Mike, Jim, and Chris discuss the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, […]
Ep 28: NHL Draft Lottery; Stanley Cup; Islanders Coaching Situationby Full Press Coverage on May 11, 2022 at 1:13 am
Jim Biringer and Chris Wassel discuss the results of the NHL Draft […]
Ep 27: Golden Knights Fall Flat; Canucks Stay Aliveby Full Press Coverage on April 20, 2022 at 3:05 am
The Vegas Golden Knights had a chance to close the gap, but fell flat […]
Ep 28: Toronto Maple Leafs, Stanley Cup Playoffs Talkby Full Press Coverage on May 8, 2022 at 12:00 pm
Jim is joined by Lex Tan of Sauga 960 to discuss the Toronto Maple […]
Ep 73: Bruins Face Elimination; Bruce Cassidy On Hot Seat; Patrice Bergeron Final Standby Full Press Coverage on May 12, 2022 at 4:00 pm
Ian and Chris discuss game six between the Bruins and Hurricanes and the […]
Ep 72: Bruins Acquire Hampus Lindholm; More Moves To Come?by Full Press Coverage on March 20, 2022 at 3:34 pm
Ian and Chris discuss the trade of Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins and what […]
S3Ep29 - Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers, Round 2 Stanley Cup Playoffs Talkby Jim Biringer on May 22, 2022 at 8:00 pm
Jim is joined by Marc Weiss and Coach Jay as they discuss Round 2 of the […]
S3Ep28 - Stanley Cup Playoff Game 7 Talk, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangersby Jim Biringer on May 15, 2022 at 1:08 pm
Jim is joined by Marc Weiss and Coach Jay in discussing the five Game7s in […]
Episode #380 - The 2022 NHL Playoffs - Second Roundby Full Press Coverage on May 17, 2022 at 2:30 am
After FIVE!!! game 7's in the first round of the playoffs, the 2nd round […]
Episode #379 - The 2022 NHL Playoffs - First Roundby Full Press Coverage on May 10, 2022 at 2:02 am
The NHL playoffs are well underway and the series are definitely not going […]
Warriors Take Commanding Lead; How Can The Celtics Rebound? (5/23)by Full Press Coverage on May 23, 2022 at 3:37 pm
Ian and John discuss the Warriors commanding 3-0 series lead over the […]