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On brink of elimination, Canadiens focused on 1st step of daunting Stanley Cup climb

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On brink of elimination, Canadiens focused on 1st step of daunting Stanley Cup climb

The Montreal Canadiens have overcome wave after wave of adversity in 2021. The Habs now face the daunting task of climbing a mountain that only one other NHL team has ever conquered — erasing a 3-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup closing.

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Phillip Danault #24 of the Montreal Canadiens celebraters with teammates after scoring towards Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning at some stage in the predominant interval in Sport Three of the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Last at Bell Centre on Friday. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Pictures)

The Montreal Canadiens have overcome wave after wave of adversity in 2021.

From shedding streaks to a COVID-19 shutdown to injuries and long odds for the duration of an inconceivable playoff tear, these underdogs mustered a response every and every time their backs were pressed firmly towards the wall.

A franchise in search of its 25th Stanley Cup, and Canada’s first since Montreal closing hoisted hockey’s Holy Grail on a June night aid in 1993, will want to dig a long way deeper than at any level in this attempting 12 months to take that now-flickering dream alive.

The Canadiens face the daunting task of climbing a mountain that only one other NHL team has ever conquered — erasing a 3-0 deficit in the final. And it has to happen towards the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

“We have bought nothing to lose,” winger Josh Anderson stated as Montreal ready for Monday’s Sport 4 at the Bell Centre, which is in a position to be seen at 8 p.m. ET on CBC and CBCSports.ca. “Everyone’s going to be ready, I’m in a position to grunt you that.

“We’re no longer accomplished but.”

As tricky because the venture is towards a properly-oiled opponent with out feeble hyperlinks that pounces on mistakes with lethal precision, being written off is nothing original for a team left for lifeless over and over.

‘It has been an advanced season’

After firing its coach in February and enduring a coronavirus outbreak in March, the battered and bruised Canadiens limped into the post-season with the NHL’s 18th-simplest document at the conclusion of its pandemic-shortened schedule.

Montreal looked done and dusted by means of four games of the opening spherical towards the Toronto Maple Leafs, nonetheless down 3-1 in the sequence, won three straight towards a closely favoured adversary to grab it in seven earlier than a wonderful sweep of the Winnipeg Jets.

The grinding Canadiens continued to roll towards the Vegas Golden Knights — the league’s biggest third-spherical well-liked in additional than 30 years — and triumphed even after interval in-between bench boss Dominique Ducharme tested certain for COVID-19, which forced him to be aware his team from isolation for two weeks.

The Canadiens were once again a longshot in the final, nonetheless additionally quietly confident of their system.

However here’s the venture: Tampa possesses its believe blueprint for achievement and, with the exception of for Sport 2 when Montreal potentially deserved an even bigger fate, has accomplished it to a T.

WATCH | Expressionless turnover ends Habs slack rally:

Ondrej Palat capitalized on a slack turnover from Joel Edmundson to keep an stop to any doubtless comeback from the Montreal Canadiens in game two. 1: 03

Now the Canadiens require one other counterpunch or they’re going to be announcing their bodily distanced goodbyes in short uncover.

“It has been an advanced season,” Montreal defenceman Jeff Petry stated. “It’s presented challenges for the duration of challenges in assorted programs.

“That is one other one. I would no longer request it any in every other case with the 12 months we have had.”

Ducharme stated his avid gamers, who are hoping to be part of the 1942 Leafs because the only team to reach aid from a 3-0 hole to grab the Cup, will battle unless their closing breath.

“That neighborhood has grown stronger collectively for the duration of the moments, adversity, and facing these situations,” Ducharme stated. “We level to it every day. Every so often we lose a game or it would now not proceed exactly such as you wanted.

“However there would possibly perchance be one thing that’s for determined — or no longer it is no longer a lack of attempting, or no longer it is no longer a lack of will.”

‘Our level of curiosity is to make determined we play the honest system’

The Lightning, meanwhile, are on the cusp of taking pictures their second straight title, and third general, after profitable inner closing 12 months’s post-season bubble.

Tampa can change into simply the second team in 22 years to claim aid-to-aid championships — joining the 2016 and 2017 Pittsburgh Penguins — the predominant team to sweep the final for the reason that 1998 Detroit Crimson Wings, and simply the second visiting membership to grab the Cup on Canadiens’ ice, following in the footsteps of the 1989 Calgary Flames.

“It becomes love a legacy thing,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper stated of repeating. “It’s aspect road cred for the fellows, for the organization.”

Petry stated denying Tampa that moment at the Bell Centre would now not provide any added motivation.

“We don’t are desirous to scrutinize the Lightning grab the Stanley Cup in any appreciate,” he stated. “That you would possibly perchance be no longer going to grab four games by profitable (Monday).

“Our level of curiosity is to make determined we play the honest system a strong, onerous game.”

‘One extra job to raze’

Down 2-0 in the sequence, the Canadiens fell dreary 2-0 early Friday because of a sequence of errors, and confronted a three-function deficit earlier than the second interval changed into once four minutes feeble. Outscored a mixed 14-5 by means of 9 sessions of action, Montreal hasn’t led for a single second towards Tampa.

“The adjustment is now not any longer predominant,” Ducharme stated. “Everyone is aware of what we want to raze and we all know or no longer it is about executing. It’s about executing below strain. It’s about making these performs at the honest time.”

WATCH | Caufield would possibly perchance well make historic past with Cup grab:

The Stanley Cup closing is stuffed with attention-grabbing storylines, including the Habs rookie filling up his trophy case. 5: 00

The Canadiens confronted elimination three occasions towards Toronto in the predominant spherical and survived.

Now some 5 1/2 weeks later — it feels a lot longer in this loopy playoff spring that’s morphed into an no longer going Cup closing summer — they once again have zero room for error.

“Everybody in that locker room believes in one one more,” Anderson stated. “The blokes have been by means of a lot this 12 months. We stuck collectively and we made it this a long way.

“We have bought one extra job to raze.”

Then they’re going to pray to raze it three extra occasions.

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On brink of elimination, Canadiens focused on 1st step of daunting Stanley Cup climb