Montreal's miracle run continues
For just the second time in their 100-year history, the Montreal Canadiens have won back-to-back seven-game series in the same playoffs, and the first time they did it – you know where this is going – they won the Stanley Cup.
While the current edition of the Habs is hard to compare to the 1971 team, it would be foolish to bet against them to repeat that squad’s exploits; after disposing of the regular-season champions in Round 1, they stifled and muzzled the reigning Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, prevailing 5-2 in Game 7.
The underdog tag can now safely be removed. And with Vancouver’s elimination, the “Canada’s team” sticker can be applied, if it wasn’t already in the minds of many fans.
“We played Washington, we were supposed to get killed, we played these guys, we were supposed to get killed, it’s just nice to be part of a team that gets it done,” said defenceman Hal Gill , a key cog in defeating his former squad.
As they await either the Philadelphia Flyers or the Boston Bruins, the Habs aren’t about to admit to feeling satisfied – as Gill said: “It doesn’t mean anything if you don’t win the whole thing … it’s all about the big one.”
Which is not to say they aren’t buoyed after becoming just the fifth team in NHL history to win two seventh games on the road in the same playoff year.
“We knew what we had in this room,” said centre Scott Gomez , adding: “We’re not shocked, it’s just beginning.”
The capper was a thrilling 5-2 Game 7 victory in which they showed the defensive acuity that is becoming their hallmark, but also managed to play attacking hockey and hold the Penguins at arm’s length.
Michael Cammalleri scored his league-leading 12th playoff goal on a sublime one-timer, joining Habs immortals Guy Lafleur, Maurice Richard and Jean Béliveau in the record books. Newsy Lalonde’s franchise record of 17 looms.