The Canadiens have not played a playoff game since losing to the New York Rangers in Game 6 of the opening round in 2017. They haven’t won a playoff series since 2015.
The Montreal Canadiens were well on their way to missing the playoffs for a third straight season before the season went on pause. Their last playoff series was a six game loss to the New York Rangers when Henrik Lundqvist dialled the clock back to his younger days and shut the door on the Habs in 2017.
We took a look back at that series yesterday, to remind of us more entertaining times in the sports calendar. We can sort of get our sports fix by rewatching old Habs games and reminiscing about better times in the Habs history. Of course, looking back at a series they lost wasn’t the greatest reminder of better times.
After digging into their latest playoff series, we thought we should take a look at their last series victory. We have to look back five years to when the Habs took on the Ottawa Senators in the first round of the postseason.
The Canadiens were led offensively by Max Pacioretty that season, much like they were for most of the decade. He scored 37 goals and 67 points to lead the team but was followed closely behind by Tomas Plekanec and PK Subban who each had 60 point seasons. Plekanec was mostly playing on a second line with Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher while Pacioretty was carrying David Desharnais and either Dale Weise (seriously, remember?) or PA Parenteau on the top line.
The Habs top pairing of Andrei Markov and Subban chewed up a lot of minutes and was a terrific two-way pairing with Markov putting up 50 points at the age of 35 and Subban reaching 60 for the first time in his career.
The Canadiens finished with 110 points in the standings, just beating out the Tampa Bay Lightning for first in the Atlantic Division. The Habs were actually just three points back of the New York Rangers for the President’s Trophy.
Most of the team’s success could be attributed to Carey Price. He was at the height of his powers in 2015, and though the awards were not handed out until the end of the playoffs, Price would win the Hart Trophy, Vezina Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award and William Jennings Trophy. Basically, he won every regular season award he was eligible to win.
The Senators, were having a dreadful season in 2014-15 until they turned the net over to Andrew Hammond, who affectionately became known as “The Hamburglar.” He was exceptional down the stretch to help the Sens squeeze into the postseason by posting 99 points and just knocking off the Boston Bruins for the final playoff spot.
Hammond played 24 regular season games and went an incredible 20-1-2 in those games. He had a sparkling 1.79 goals against average and a .941 save percentage in that time after coming out of nowhere for Ottawa.
The Sens actually had a decent attack with some young talent that they looked to build around. Erik Karlsson, Kyle Turris, Mika Zibanejad, Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone were all 25 or younger and had 46 or more points. The Senators of course have traded them all since then.
The Senators were a big underdog on paper, but with The Hamburglar in net, an upset certainly seemed possible.