Tyler Toffoli – Nick Suzuki – Cole Caufield
Artturi Lehkonen – Phillip Danault – Brendan Gallagher
Paul Byron – Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Josh Anderson
Joel Armia – Eric Staal – Corey Perry
Ben Chiarot – Shea Weber
Joel Edmundson – Jeff Petry
Erik Gustafsson – Jon Merrill
Carey Price – Jake Allen
Tomas Tatar, Michael Frolik, Charlie Lindgren, Brett Kulak, Alexander Romanov
Alex Belzile, Laurent Dauphin, Lukas Vejdemo, Jesse Ylonen, Cale Fleury, Otto Leskinen, Xavier Ouellet, Cayden Primeau, Michael McNiven
Jonathan Drouin (undisclosed), Jake Evans (concussion)
The Montreal Canadiens have earned a place in the Stanley Cup final for the 33rd time (since 1917-18) in franchise history, and for the first time in 28 years. For many Canadiens fans this will be their first experience watching their team compete for the Cup.
To advance, the Canadiens defeated the team who tied for the most points in the league in the regular season. Winning the series in six games earned the Canadiens their very first Clarence Campbell Bowl. Captain Shea Weber was beaming when congratulated by NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly but Weber elected not to touch the trophy.
The mission is not yet complete.
The final win of the series wasn’t easy against a committed and desperate Golden Knights team. Vegas dominated possession for three periods plus overtime. Scoring chances were lopsided as well, recorded as 28-15 for the Golden Knights.
But as he has done throughout the playoffs, Carey Price calmly erased the mistakes of his teammates. And as he made one spectacular save after another, frustration began to build for the visitors. Price made game-saving stops on William Karlsson and Max Pacioretty.
To get to the final, the Canadiens have defied overwhelming odds. But Price has had a way of single-handedly upending the prediction models during this playoff run. The more talented lineup (on paper) outshot the Habs in every game of this series but one, but with their goaltender giving them a chance, the Canadiens stuck together and found ways to win.
Lehkonen is clutch
Tonight the overtime hero was a player who has played a key role in shutting down the opposition both at even strength and while on the penalty-kill. Artturi Lehkonen ended the game and the series just 99 seconds into the extra frame. Lehkonen is familiar with scoring game-winners, but there has been none bigger than his shot that beat Robin Lehner tonight.
It was the Canadiens captain who got the ball rolling in the first period. Shea Weber, still dealing with a thumb injury, blasted a rocket past Lehner to open the scoring.
Cole Caufield also got one by Lehner for the Canadiens second goal. Apparently Caufield’s wrister, high glove side was somewhat less predictable for the Golden Knights netminder. Caufield has gone from NCAA hockey, a world junior tournament, a Hobey Baker award, the AHL and now the Stanley Cup final.
Lehner took some time in the handshake line to offer some kind words to Price. The Canadiens goaltender will never reveal what was said but it wouldn’t surprise if it was something along the lines of ‘Finish what you started.’
In the post-game player availability, Lehner said “Hell of a team. Works really hard. Sticks with their structure, and they have a lot of great players. Everyone underestimates them.”
But now, the Montreal Canadiens are Stanley Cup finalists. In the words of Eric Staal, they have their ticket to the dance. Underestimate them no longer.
The Canadiens will have the day off on Friday and will then begin preparing for their Stanley Cup final which will begin on the road on Monday night.
▲ Carey Price, Artturi Lehkonen, Shea Weber, Cole Caufield, Brendan Gallagher, Paul Byron, Luke Richardson
▼ Tyler Toffoli, Jon Merrill, Erik Gustafsson
Check out the game preview here: Golden Knights @ Canadiens: The Toughest Test | HABS GAME 6 PREVIEW