Don't call them Cinderella teams!
The Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens may have endured alot of hell in order to reach heaven this season, but just because they were ranked seventh and eighth respectively in the Eastern Conference does not mean either club is not deserving of being there.
The regular season is but one test, the playoff grind is another beast altogether.
And both teams have passed that test with style and panache!
The Flyers pulled off an unexpected heist in round two, playing tortoise to the Boston Bruins three game lead. The Canadiens, blow by blow, picked off the President Cup winning Capitals and the defending Stanley holders Pittsburgh in seven game sets.
No mean feat for either club, to be sure!
And now the battle of these dogged and determined teams will send a victor to the 2010 Stanley Cup final.
Some may feel that whichever team triumphs, they will be out of place in the NHL showcase, but that couldn't be further than the truth.
How about this stat for starters, the Canadiens and the Flyers are the NHL's two most successful regular season teams of all time?
In terms of winning percentage, the stories Habs have earned .590% of all available points in games, while the Flyers since 1967 sit second at .577%. That is a 2010 up to date stat.
The closest teams, three seasons ago were Buffalo at .551%, Boston at .550% and Edmonton at .541%.
Surprise Philly is up there, don't be. Since 1967, they have had seventeen seasons of 100 points or more. Montreal trails with fourteen.
Of course, such numbers do not play into the third round matchup, but simply points that these two franchises, despite ebbs and flows in recent seasons and decades, know how to build consistent winners better than other clubs when it comes right down to it.
It could be said that their winning traditions pointed them through the muck and mire of the 2009-10 campaign, leaving them as the last teams standing in the East.
So be surprised as to how these two team arrived, and not the fact that they have.
For history's sake, the Canadiens have an all-time record against the Flyers of 77 wins, 58 losses, 30 ties and 2 overtime losses in 167 contests, for a winning percentage of .557%. They have outscored Philly 537-497 in those games
In games in Montreal, the Canadiens are 41-28-14-1 in 84 games, a .577% rate, outscoring Philadelphia 285 to 250.
On Philly soil, the Habs are slightly less successful, with a 36-30-16-1 record in 83 games, for a .536% rate. The goal differential is closer at 252 to 247.
The Canadiens playoff record against Philadelphia is as follows.
1973 Record 4-1 Goals 19-13 Home 2-1 Road 2-0
1976 Record 4-0 Goals 14-9 Home 2-0 Road 2-0
1987 Record 2-4 Goals 22-22 Home 0-3 Road 2-1
1989 Record 4-2 Goals 17-8 Home 1-2 Road 3-0
2008 Record 1-4 Goals 14-20 Home 1-2 Road 0-2
Overall Record 15-11 Goals 86-72 Home 6-8 Road 9-3
Take the poll below and feel free to pronounce your opinion in the comments.
I call the Habs in 5.
Ken van Steendelaar says Montreal in 6.
Habs Inside Out blogger Mike Boone says Philly in 6...but he's employing his reverse jinx theory, good for two rounds thus far.