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Canadiens in the Playoffs
Habs Celebrate Early Lead
Gallagher Scores on Miller
Habs in the Dance
There are few professional sports franchises with the history and lineage of the Montreal Canadiens. They are built on tradition and that tradition is winning. They are the most storied team in the National Hockey League. They've won 24 Stanley Cup championships. And now they will have a shot at winning number 25 this year.
Last year was something of a happy accident looking back at it. The Habs were is a state of disarray. The team played each game with no motivation and seemed to be lacking any real direction. The franchises upper management finally stepped in. The General Manager and coach were relieved of their duties and it was time to focus on the future.
The Habs brought in Marc Bergevin to be the new General Manager and rehired Michel Therrien as head coach. Therrien is a no-nonsense coach that is capable to whipping teams into shape. His disciplinarian style attitude is exactly what the Habs needed after falling apart a season before. Bergevin brought focus to the team and had a crystal clear vision for how to build the new Habs.
The team would be faster, stronger, and especially tougher. He brought in great grit with Brandon Prust. He focused on drafting well and landed coveted prospect Alex Galchenyuk in the Entry Draft. Others got healthy and Bergevin gathered the pieces for coach Michel Therrien.
No one saw what was coming next. The Habs exploded to the top of the Eastern Conference. The team has held the Northeast division lead for most of the season. Bergevin wasn't content to sit by, he knew his team could be better. He sent winger Erik Cole to Dallas to bring back Michael Ryder. A deal that has paid off huge for Montreal.
Therrien has gotten the most out of young players fighting to prove themselves and veterans hungry to win the Stanley Cup. Andrei Markov and P.K. Subban have simply been great on the blueline this season. They have lived up to expectations Habs fans put on them every season. They bolster the backend of one of the leagues best Power Play units.
And of course, between the pipes, goaltender Carey Price has been nothing short of sensational. Sure he has a slip up every now and then, but what goalie doesn't. Price has elite talent and gives the Habs a chance to win every single night.
Now the Habs are headed back tot he playoffs after a dominating performance in Buffalo. They are only the second team to clinch a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference; the other being the Pittsburgh Penguins. Now the Habs know they have a shot at number 25.
Anything can happen in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Habs are the last Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup, perhaps they are poised to shock the hockey world and bring it back to Canada once again. Either way, after last seasons disappointment, this season will have to be looked at as a success. There is still work to be done, but for now, the fans can be proud and celebrate their team is back where they belong.