How the Montreal Canadiens reached their first Stanley Cup Final in 28 years

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Philadelphia Flyers at Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens are in the 2021 Stanley Cup Finals. On a night the people of Montreal went absolute nuts (outside the arena), the Canadiens defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 in overtime at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec. With the win, the Canadiens beat the Golden Knights four games to two in the best out of seven Stanley Cup semifinals.

In the process, the Canadiens won their first ever Clarence Campbell Bowl in franchise history. Normally, the trophy goes to the winner of the Western Conference champion, and before that to the winner of the Clarence Campbell Conference. Due to the fact the Canadiens were in the Eastern Conference and the Prince of Wales Conference since the 1970s, it was impossible for them to win the Clarence Campbell Bowl.

However the 2020-21 National Hockey League season was completely different. With the seven Canadian teams all in the same division to begin the year due to the fact the Canadian/American border was closed because of coronavirus, it guaranteed a Canadian team to be in the final four. After the Canadiens stunned the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Winnipeg Jets, it was the  Canadiens, the worst team from the regular season that made the 2021 playoffs, which then reached the final four.

Montreal only had 59 points in 56 games, and went into the playoffs ice cold as they lost their last five regular season games. The Golden Knights meanwhile tied the Colorado Avalanche with 82 points for the most points in the NHL.

Heading into the Stanley Cup semifinals, the Canadiens were the significant underdog against the Golden Knights. With Vegas having a 26 point regular season advantage, not many expected Montreal to come away with a series win.

However, the Canadiens got timely goal scoring from Josh Anderson, who scored the overtime winner in game three, and Artturi Lehkonen, who scored the overtime winner in game six. Both of the Canadiens overtime wins in the series were of scores of 3-2.

The one other area where the Canadiens had the advantage over the Golden Knights was goaltending. Carey Price was simply brilliant, as he had a save percentage of .933, and a goals against average of 2.10.

The Canadiens will now either play the Tampa Bay Lightning or the New York Islanders in game one of the Stanley Cup Finals on Monday. The Lightning and the Islanders play game seven of their other Stanley Cup semifinals on Friday.



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