In an outcome that no one predicted, the Montreal Canadiens have knocked out the Pittsburgh Penguins in four games.
In a regular year, Montreal wouldn’t have even been close to making the playoffs. But this is no regular year; 2020 has been anything but normal. The world flipped upside down, major sports leagues were canceled, and daily life still seems far from reach. Improbable, beyond belief, and unimaginable would all be accurate adjectives to describe this year — those adjectives would also define the outcome of this series. Against all the odds, the Canadiens upset the Penguins.
Underdogs From the Start
Even with the NHL bubble’s updated playoff regime, the Montreal Canadiens slipped in by a hair. The Canadiens were the 24th and final team to qualify for the bubble.
Coming in as the fifth seed, the Penguins surely weren’t sweating their qualifying round matchup with the Canadiens. After all, their two best players (two of the best in the world) Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin just had four months of rest.
Just seven days after their Game 1 loss to Montreal, the unthinkable has happened. Montreal has eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins.
After trading away potentially their most promising young defenseman in Calen Addison, it was clear it was Stanley Cup or bust for Pittsburgh.
The biggest reason the Montreal Canadiens are moving onto the face the winner of the Lightning/Flyers game is their goalie. Carey Price was remarkable in this series. Being able to shutout Malkin and force Crosby to net only two goals over four games is no small feat. Price had a spectacular .945 save percentage over the four game series.
Regardless of who wins the Lightning/Flyers game later today, the Canadiens will be going into the series as heavy underdogs. Hopefully, fans and analysts have learned from this Penguins/Canadiens series and realized that Montreal shouldn’t be taken lightly.