The Montreal Canadiens have shocked the hockey world as they get set for their first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals since 1993, and for now, at least, they're set as favourites to win the Cup.
Trailing 3-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first-round, the Habs stormed back to win three straight games and take the series. Continuing to play the underdog, they swept the Winnipeg Jets in the second-round. For their latest magic, they eliminated the Vegas Golden Knights in six games in the semifinals. From the longest odds to win the Stanley Cup at the start of the playoffs, to the best odds after three rounds, let’s take a look at Montreal.
Path to the 2021 Stanley Cup Finals
After starting the season at +1600 to win the Stanley Cup, the Montreal Canadiens are the first team to book their ticket to the Finals. They’re set to face either the New York Islanders or the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s pretty amazing that Montreal even found themselves in the playoffs to begin with, let alone the Stanley Cup Finals. Les Habitants finished the regular season four points behind the next closest playoff team and with the way the realignment worked out, they actually had less points than two teams that didn’t make the playoffs.
The Canadiens came into their first-round matchup against Toronto as +275 underdogs to win the series. The Habs had finished with 19 less points than the Leafs in the regular season. It was considered such a mismatch series, that Montreal didn’t enter a single game as the favourite. The Habs fell down 3-1 in the series. Historically, they had less than a 10 per cent chance to win the series. Somehow they pulled it off.
The first-round win against Toronto didn’t do much to help Montreal’s Stanley Cup odds. They were still longshots, sitting at +1300 to win the Cup heading into the second-round against the Winnipeg Jets. Even winning the North Division with a sweep of the Jets didn’t get the Habs any more respect.
Montreal entered the semifinals against the Vegas Golden Knights as +249 series underdogs and +1000 longshots to win the Cup. After taking out Vegas in six games, the Habs will get a few days rest to watch Game 7 between the Islanders and Lightning.
Montreal Canadiens Book Their Ticket
Well, Montreal finally shocked the hockey world and oddsmakers enough with their series win against Vegas. The Habs now sit as +137 favourites to win the Stanley Cup.
They’ll be up against a tired Tampa or New York team that won’t get much of a break between Game 7 of their semifinal series and the start of the Stanley Cup Finals. The Bolts are +150 to win the Cup and they Isles are at +375.
Montreal will be just the fifth Canadian team to play for the Stanley Cup since 1993, following the Vancouver Canucks in 1994 and 2011, the Edmonton Oilers in 2006 and the Ottawa Senators in 2007. No Canadian team has hoisted Lord Stanley since the Habs lifted the Cup for an NHL-record 24th time in 1993.