NHL

Montreal Canadiens advance to first Stanley Cup Final since 1993

Artturi Lehkonen nets the OT winner as the Montreal Canadiens take out the Vegas Golden Knights in six games to advance to the Stanley Cup Final. 

The Montreal Canadiens will have a chance to end Canada’s 28-year Stanley Cup drought against either the Tampa Bay Lightning or the New York Islanders in this year’s league final.

Fifth-year forward Arturri Lehkonen was able to convert on a pass from Phillip Danault just a minute and 39 seconds into overtime of game 6 against Vegas on Thursday night, giving the Canadiens a 3-2 win and closing out the series in six games. Breakout star Cole Caufield and veteran defensemen Shea Weber recorded the other two goals for Montreal while Carey Price stopped 37 of the 39 shots he faced in this one. Reilly Smith and Alec Martinez were the only goal-scorers for Vegas.

Finishing 18th in the league-standings, the Habs were the lowest seeded team in this season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. They stunned the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, coming all the way back from a 3-1 deficit to take them out in seven games. The Winnipeg Jets, coming off a dominant first round sweep against the Edmonton Oilers, proved to be no match for the Canadiens in the second round as Montreal wrapped that series up in four. Finally in the league semi-finals, Vegas took game one handily by a score of 4-1, but the Habs bounced right back to take four of the next five and end the Golden Knights’ season.

Tyler Toffoli and Nick Suzuki have led the way in the scoring department for Montreal this postseason, with 14 and 13 points, respectively, while Caufield and Corey Perry each sit at 9 points through three rounds. But offense isn’t what has gotten the Canadiens this far. They’ve scored just 2.53 goals per game: 11th out of the 16 teams in the playoffs. Goaltender Carey Price and defense have been the secret to Montreal’s success. Price has stopped 93.4% of the shots he’s faced; that’s the best mark in the league. And he’s given up just 2.02 goals per game; good for second in the league. Montreal’s penalty kill sits at a league-best 93.5% efficiency. 

Vegas’ season ends earlier than they hoped for. The team finished the regular season tied for first in the NHL and had a league-best +67 point differential heading into the playoffs.

Can the Canadiens take this magical run one step further and win their first cup in 28 years? With the Lightning and Islanders poised to settle their series tomorrow, ComeOn! sportsbook has Montreal at 2.75 win it all.