Montreal Canadiens: Lessons Playoff Teams Can Learn From Habs 2021 Stanley Cup Final Run

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 24: Artturi Lehkonen #62 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 24: Artturi Lehkonen #62 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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MONTREAL, QC – MAY 29: Ben Chiarot #8 and Shea Weber #6 of the Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC – MAY 29: Ben Chiarot #8 and Shea Weber #6 of the Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

Size and toughness can wear down the best opponents

The biggest takeaway from the Canadiens Stanley Cup Final run last season was that series are long, and teams can look a lot different in Game 6 and 7 than they do in Game 1.

The biggest reason for that is the grind of a seven game series can take a lot out of players. All of those battles and whacks and hits and cross checks add up over a 13 day period and players are just worn out.

The Canadiens were able to do this in each of their series last season, although series against the Jets was over so quick none of their players got going.

But in the opening round against the Maple Leafs, Auston Matthews had three points in the first three games of the series, Mitch Marner had three points as well and William Nylander had four. Over the final four games of the series Matthews had two assists, Marner had just one and Nylander continued scoring with four more points.

In the third round against Vegas, the Golden Knights had just five goals in the final three games of the series. Their top players like Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone were mostly ineffective over the second half of the series.

A big reason for that was the big, physical, shutdown defenders they had to face every other night for two weeks. The Canadiens top pairing of Shea Weber and Ben Chiarot battled and made the opposing team feel pain on every shift. The accumulation of bumps, bruises and aches when going to the net Weber and Chiarot are protecting its significant.

The Golden Knights scored five times in their last three games against the Canadiens. The Maple Leafs had six goals in their final three games against the Habs and the Jets had just three goals in their final three contests.

Being big, physical and making the opponent earn every inch of ice is what makes teams successful over a lengthy playoff series. It worked for the Canadiens last season and it will work for whoever follows that blueprint this season.

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