Looking Back On The Three Year Anniversary Of Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs Game 7

The Habs improbable comeback over the rival Toronto Maple Leafs is worth looking back on three years later.
Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Seven
Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Seven / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

A lot has changed since the Montreal Canadiens beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in Round One of the 2021 NHL Playoffs. There are now full buildings again in our post-pandemic world, Carey Price is no longer in the Canadiens' crease, Martin St. Louis is the new head coach, and Shea Weber hasn't played an NHL game since that fateful journey to the Stanley Cup Final. Habs fans thought the sky was the limit after their 3-1 comeback against the hated rivals, but there is no better example of the fragility of sports fandom than that playoff run.

For some, the excitement on that run is worth the following three seasons of mediocrity. The height of being a Canadiens fan for the younger generation happened on May 31st, 2021 when Carey Price stopped 30 of 31 shots to eliminate the Leafs and contribute to their second-round drought. Carey Price would have gotten a shutout in Game 7 in a perfect world, but William Nylander's goal with 1:36 remaining ruined the bid. Price's series ended with a 2.24 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage. However, Price's numbers over the final three games told the story. Price owned a .945 save percentage over that span, winning three straight to shock the Maple Leafs and the hockey world.

On this day, we don't need to remember the rest of those playoffs. The next two rounds were great, with the Canadiens sweeping the Jets and then upsetting the Golden Knights in six games. Unfortunately for the Habs, their best players had nothing left against the Lightning, coming three wins short of the 25th Stanley Cup in Franchise history.

Carey Price: A Hockey Hero One Last Time

If you went back in time and told someone after that series to enjoy Price's run because it'd be his last glimpse of greatness, they would have said you were a liar. Price backstopped the Habs to the Stanley Cup Finals, and when he left the net with Tampa Bay celebrating in front of him, it'd be the last time we saw him in a playoff game. He would wear a Habs sweater five more times the following season before calling it a career.

There were a lot of factors that went into Price's retirement that we won't get into now, but it was a fitting end to his career. Price's trophy cabinet is full of every team and individual award imaginable except for one, which the players in front of him could never help him achieve. Price did everything he could to win the Stanley Cup, shortening his career by many years to give one more shot at it. However, it wasn't in the cards for Price, Weber, and the supporting cast that season.

Head coach at the time, Dominque Ducharme, summed it up best when asked about Price's ability to elevate his game for the Habs.

"He likes challenges. Carey's done so much throughout his career. When he gets into those big games he just brings his best and even more. It's part of his character. He wants to be in those situations and that's where great athletes make the difference. "

Dominque Ducharme

The Canadiens will reach the pinnacle of the hockey world again one day, but until then, their fans can look back and remember the time Carey Price and Shea Weber nearly carried a ragtag group to a Stanley Cup Championship.