On Monday, the Montreal Canadiens completed the third comeback in their history after trailing a seven-game series three games to one.
There are reasons that you may feel a sense of déja vu from their win against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In 2004, they defeated a team with Joe Thornton and a forward named Nylander. They got great play from their goaltender Jose Theodore. In 2010, they defeated one of the top goal scorers in the league, and Jaroslav Halak stood on his head.
Late in the game, with Montreal holding a 2-0 lead, it may have felt like Game 7 against the Washington Capitals in 2010. Every chip off the boards in the third period, there was potential for Maxim Lapierre and Dominic Moore to put the game out of reach.
Make no mistake: This was not 2010.
Carey Price was absolutely outstanding, don’t get me wrong. Montreal wasn’t outplayed in the final three games. Montreal didn’t steal this series. Toronto didn’t choke. Montreal won this series.
A lot of the talk will talk about how Toronto lost the series. Remember how Montreal won it.
After the game, Price was asked whether this was the best he had played, and he responded that it was the best team game the team has played all season.
They finally played Dominique Ducharme’s system the way it was intended to be played.
The Canadiens got progressively better as the series went on. Something just seemed to click after Game 4, and they carried that to the end of Game 7. The difference in Game 7 was that the Canadiens didn’t give the Maple Leafs anything. There were shots and there were chances sure, but Montreal had some of their own as well.
It was similar to 2010, but it just felt so much easier. They weren’t outplayed.
Phillip Danault had one point in the series but his contributions throughout were clear. They don’t win the series without Carey Price, obviously, but they don’t win it without Danault, or Ben Chiarot, or Joel Edmundson either.
The Canadiens were confident in themselves all season, even when things looked bleak, but they pulled it together when their backs were against the wall.
After the game, Ducharme may have described the team’s mentality best.
“We won a series... We’re a bit happy about that, but we want more,” he said.