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.
The Calgary Flames have released Ryan Wilson from his professional tryout.
The 28-year-old was trying to make a comeback after missing 79 games with a shoulder injury last season.
Even with T.J. Brodie sidelined because of a broken hand, Wilson still faced long odds to make the final roster.
The veteran will be hard-pressed to find NHL work with another team.
He hasn’t suited up in more than 12 regular season games since 2011-12.
The Stockton Heat, Calgary’s AHL affiliate, also made some news on Sunday.
The club announced that they’ve signed Colton Orr to an AHL contract.
The 33-year-old tough guy suited up in just one game for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He has 12 seasons of NHL experience under his belt.
The Arizona Coyotes have returned Dylan Strome to the Erie Otters of the OHL.
Strome, 18, was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.
The 6’3, 185 pounder was hoping to stick with the Coyotes this season, but the team decided to take the conservative approach with their top prospect.
Strome will look to build off an incredible junior season that saw him score 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games.
Strome seems to be taking the demotion in stride.
The team also announced that they’ve assigned goaltender Louis Domingue and forward Matthias Plachta to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.
Domingue, 23, had a 1-2-1 record with a 2.73 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in seven games last season.
Plachta, a free agent signing, will begin his first pro season in North America. The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 35 points in the German League last season.