The Montreal Canadiens will be traveling to Vegas to take on the Golden Knights in a best-of-7 series to determine the Western Conference Champion. Game 1 puck drop is set for Monday at 9 p.m. ET and being nationally televised on NBCSN. Will Habs Cinderella story continue or will they falter against tough-to-beat Golden Knights?
There’s no doubt which team has been the story of the playoffs thus far. While some may look at the Islanders and what they have accomplished in beating the Penguins and Bruins, there’s another team that’s come out of the shadows and into the spotlight. From being the last seed to making the playoffs, the Canadiens have earned themselves a spot in the Western Conference Finals and a chance at competing for the Stanley Cup.
Habs Cinderella Story | A Closer Look
The Canadiens, with just 59 regular season points, was the team with the worst overall record to make the playoffs. They were considered a lock to be dominated by longtime rival and division leader Toronto Maple Leafs. Proving everybody wrong, the Canadiens took the series to game 7 where they defeated the Maple Leafs 3-1 in their opponents barn.
Quand quelqu’un te dit qu’il n’aime pas la pizza.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) June 14, 2021
Following their victory over the Maple Leafs, another obstacle stepped in the Canadiens way: the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets were just coming off a sweep of their own against a hot offense in the Edmonton Oilers. The Canadiens didn’t drop a single game to the Jets as they swept them with ease as the series began June 2 and ended June 7. The Canadiens suffocated their opponents in the offensive zone, winning every loose puck and tiring out their legs.
This has been great for the NHL as the Canadiens are a part of a large market NHL brand. The Habs are part of the original six along with the Bruins, Rangers, Red Wings, Black Hawks, and Maple Leafs. The Canadiens historic run is a major appeal to the NHL along with all the attention and attraction it brings.
Will Their Story End?
Maneuvering through the first round and sweeping the following round, the Canadiens have turned their name into a massive threat for the remainder of the playoffs. However, with facing the Golden Knights there’s a tough task ahead of them and they just may be running out of fuel. Let’s take a look and see if it’s really possible that the Montreal Canadiens, the playoff team with the worst record, makes the Stanley Cup Finals or if their journey ends in the Conference Finals.
It’s essential to take a look at their opponents and what they’ve been able to accomplish throughout the playoffs thus far. The Golden Knights defeated the Wild in the opening round in a series that unexpectedly went the distance. Following their win, the Golden Knights found themselves in a quick hole down 2-0 to the Presidents Trophy winners Colorado Avalanche.
The Golden Knights flipped the switch as the puck dropped for game 3. The Golden Knights proceeded to win the next four games in the series and enter themselves in the Conference Finals as a top candidate to hoist the Stanley Cup. Are the Habs really going to be able to beat a team four times that just beat the cup favorites four times in a row?
The easy response when looking at it from a distance would be ‘no.’ But, there’s a bit more to it than just a one-worded response.
The Canadiens, although having a veteran goaltender, are young. Extremely young meaning they are inexperienced. The Golden Knights are not young, in fact some may even say their on the older side with veterans like Fleury, Pietrangelo, Pacioretty, and a few others.
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Therefore, the Golden Knights have been able to accomplish what they’ve done thus far in the playoffs with older legs. When the legs aren’t working and you want to quit, it’s the experience that gets you the extra inch and wins you the game. Just because their legs aren’t working doesn’t mean their minds are working twice as hard.
The Habs were an unexpected surprise in this year’s playoffs. Who knows, they may continue to surprise us and make an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals. I find it unlikely as the Golden Knights step in their way.