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The Montreal Canadiens Are In A Place Many Thought Was Impossible

frm Michael Traikos of the National Post,

Nearly one month ago, the Montreal Canadiens were one game away from being eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs. After a 4-1 win against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5 on Tuesday night, they are now one win away from reaching the Stanley Cup final.

What are the odds? What a story.

This is what makes the NHL playoffs so great, so unpredictable. A team like Montreal, which was practically left for dead after going down 3-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, should have no business being here. They were the lowest seeded team in the North Division. In fact, there were three non-playoff teams that finished with more points during the regular season.

At the start of the post-season, oddsmakers had given Montreal a 50-to-1 shot at winning it all.

But that doesn’t matter anymore. None of it does.

The underdogs are not underdogs anymore. Not after coming from behind and beating the Leafs. Not after sweeping the Jets. And not with a 3-2 series lead against the Golden Knights.

continued

Game highlights are below.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

I am blown away how relentless Montreal has been on the forecheck, but mostly their back checking during these playoffs. Their team speed, will and tenacity is absolutely amazing and especially their stick work (poke checks and all). And really, many of their forwards are consider undersized for the league. Gallagher was machine again last night.

Caulfield shot is so tricky. Man.

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 06/23/21 at 08:12 AM ET

Avatar

Danault is a great center when you don’t need him for offense.

I hate to say it because you hope for the best, but somehow Drouin was having a terrible time in his home town. That’s such a shame. Maybe stepping away lightened the load in a way.

Suzuki is fantastic. Toffoli gives them another great finisher and skill player.
Byron is a secret weapon - buzzing around the ice and money on breakaways.

Armia was a castoff from Winnipeg. Lehkonen has come in and filled a bottom six role. Anderson’s contract may or may not age well, but he’s such an impact player when healthy, even when he doesn’t score because he’s so big and fast and can take away time and space from opponents.

They’ve definitely become a team. I saw a Leafs(!) YouTube commentator exclaim when he saw the entire team surrounding Evan’s stretcher as he was being wheeled off the ice “That’s a team! That’s a team!” Lose their coach, just keep going.

The big veteran defense has worked for them. They have enough speed and two way play from their forwards they can lean on some size on the back end. It helps them hold out against a team like Vegas that likes to forecheck and hit and pressure.
Nice to see Merrill as a regular, too. Both he and Gustafson- the trade deadline pickups. Overall, Bergevin really deserves some credit. He’s found a lot of useful players for bargain prices. He stuck with Weber and Price rather than rebuilding.
He’s won a number of trades.

It’s fun to have a unique and storied team and franchise this deep in the playoffs.

At the beginning of the season I thought they looked very good on paper: deep and balanced. Good start to the season. Then really uninspired and mediocre at best.
Weakest division. Local scribes were either in despair or furious the team hadn’t been blown up a couple years ago. This is such a funny game - how a team can gel and gain momentum in the playoffs.

Posted by lefty.30 on 06/23/21 at 09:36 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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