One trophy ignored, Canadiens shift focus to the Stanley Cup

MONTREAL (AP) — Shea Weber and the Montreal Canadiens kept their hands off the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl after advancing to the Stanley Cup Final, and even novice Cole Caufield had no interest in touching it.

“Obviously there’s a bigger one out there that we’re chasing, so I think that’s the only thing on our mind right now,” Caufield stated, following a 3-2 OT semifinal series-ending win over Vegas in Video game 6. “It’s good to enjoy it. We’ve come a long way to get here, but the job is not finished.”

Montreal remains in the last for the 35th time in the franchise’s remarkable history and will deal with the safeguarding champ Tampa Bay Lightning for an opportunity to win an NHL-leading 25th champion. Not just do the Canadiens not commemorate second-place surfaces, however maybe it’s finest Weber prevented the semifinal prize usually offered to the Western Conference champ due to the fact that Campbell is not favored in Quebec.

Campbell was the league president who suspended Maurice “Rocket” Richard for the rest of the season and playoffs for striking a linesman throughout a video game in March 1955, resulting in riots in Montreal. The Canadiens had actually never ever recorded the prize called for Campbell in their history — they’ve won the Prince of Wales a record 25 times — however in this uncommon season with groups playing in reformatted visions that held true Thursday night.

Now the focus turns towards the Cup, and there’s no such hatred towards name Lord Stanley.

“We got another series coming up,” stated Weber, who’s playing in his very first Cup last at age 35. “We’ve got to win four more games but definitely proud of everybody in that locker room right now and what we’ve accomplished so far. But definitely still work to be done.”

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The Canadiens are on among the more unexpected runs in postseason history, eliminating a 3-1 deficit versus Toronto in the preliminary, sweeping Winnipeg in the 2nd and closing down greatly preferred Vegas in 6 video games in the 3rd. Just minutes after quiting the series-deciding overtime objective to Artturi Lehkonen, Golden Knights netminder Robin Lehner stated: “Hell of a team. Works really hard. Sticks with their structure and they have a lot of great players. Everyone underestimates them.”

Three-time Cup winner Patrick Sharp, now an NBC Sport expert, anticipated Montreal to lose every round. Just after enjoying Canadiens goaltender Carey Rate and his colleagues irritate Vegas did he recognize he therefore lots of others were simply incorrect.

“We should’ve known better,” Sharp stated Friday. “It’s a team that’s got some belief, no question about that, and those teams are often the most dangerous this time of year.”

The lineup is likewise an ideal mix of veterans like Rate, Weber, Corey Perry and Eric Staal who have actually remained in a lot of championship game prior to and young gamers like Caufield, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nick Suzuki.

The 20-year-old Caufield was playing college hockey as just recently as March, and Suzuki simply beat the Vegas company that prepared and after that traded him in an offer for previous Montreal captain Max Pacioretty.

Rate is the foundation, having actually stopped 495 of 530 shots to enter into the last as a front-runner for the Conn Smythe Prize as playoff MVP. Like Weber, it will be his very first last.

Credit likewise needs to go to training, with Montreal heading into the last with assistant Luke Richardson as the 3rd individual behind the bench in the previous 4 months. Interim coach Dominique Ducharme took control of when Claude Julien was fired in February, and Richardson is filling out after Ducharme checked favorable for the coronavirus recently.

The Canadiens ensured Ducharme was on video from afar when they went back to their locker space Thursday night to share in the delight. Now that they’ve ensured a minimum of 4 more video games and their pleased city is poised to commemorate, Ducharme might possibly return midway through the last.

With Ducharme on their minds, gamers rapidly moved from delighting in another series success to thinking of attempting to get another.

“They’re not done yet,” Richardson stated. “They saw a fire in their eyes. They’re already talking about it. … Get right back at it. And we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

One prize neglected, Canadiens shift focus to the Stanley Cup initially appeared on NBCSports.com

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.