(The Sports Xchange) - It was 21 years ago when the Montreal Canadiens, the proudest of all NHL franchises, last won the Stanley Cup, the 22nd in their history.
Now, after completely dominating the Boston Bruins in Games Six and Seven of their second-round playoff series, the Habs have a chance to end the drought. They made it to the league’s final four for the first time since 2010 and for only the second time since the 1993 Cup run.
“We just beat the best team in the league,” coach Michel Therrien said after his Canadiens beat the Bruins 3-1 and advanced to meet the New York Rangers in another Original Six matchup.
Game One of the Eastern Conference finals is on Saturday afternoon in Montreal.
“Any time you’re moving onto the conference finals, it feels good,” said defenseman P.K. Subban, a true force in the series. “When you think about it, you have an opportunity to get one step closer to the Stanley Cup.
“We deserve it. We played hard. Nothing has come easy for us all year. We’ve worked hard for everything we’ve gotten. As a player, when you hear some of the things that are said and the way people have disrespected us both on and off the ice, I’m happy for this group.”
Carey Price made 29 saves, and right winger Dale Wiese, left winger Max Pacioretty and center Daniel Briere scored goals for the Canadiens on Wednesday.
The Canadiens finished 17 points behind the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Bruins in the regular season.
Boston coach Claude Julien pointed to his younger players, especially on defense, where the Bruins missed injured veteran Dennis Seidenberg, being tight in Game Seven.
“We had a great season, and we did a lot of good things,” he said. “When you look at the whole picture, it’s a lot brighter than the ending.”
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was naturally upset.
“I would lie to you if I say it’s not disappointing, especially after the season we had,” he said.
Briere, who set up the Wiese goal, put the game away when his late power-play centering pass hit Chara’s skate and deflected past goaltender Tuukka Rask.
Right winger Jarome Iginla scored the lone Bruins goal, cutting a 2-0 Montreal lead in half late in the second period. Iginla had several chances in the third but couldn’t score.
Editing by Benjamin Everill