They weren’t as big as the Boston Bruins. They obviously didn’t finish as high in the regular season standings as the Boston Bruins. But the Montreal Canadiens are off to the Eastern Conference Final.
The Habs defeated the Bruins 3-1 on Wednesday to take this thrilling, heated and at times controversial series in seven games. It was a resilient effort from the Canadiens, who were going up against the 2014 Presidents’ Trophy winners as the NHL’s top team in the regular season.
“We just beat the best team in the league,” said Canadiens’ coach Michel Therrien, as per Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe.
The Eastern final between the Canadiens and New York Rangers begins Saturday, with Game 1 in Montreal.
“No matter what anybody says, respect was earned tonight,” said Montreal’s star defenseman P.K. Subban, as per Chris Johnston of Sportsnet.
“I feel sorry for any team that has to come into our building and our city,” Subban added.
This series between two long-time rivals – from their Original Six days, of course – lived up to all the hype. It was hard fought. It was dirty, nasty at times. We all remember when Shawn Thornton squirted Subban with the water bottle as the Bruins’ enforcer sat on the bench in Game 5.
While it resulted in a fine, it seems the Canadiens used occurrences like that as motivation.