Through three rounds of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, I have done my best to eliminate the Montreal Canadiens.
I picked them to lose in five against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the North Division semifinals. And when the Canadiens were down 3-1, it looked like they were done. But they came back to win the series in seven.
Then I had the Canadiens losing to the Winnipeg Jets in five in the North Division final. The Jets were coming off a sweep of the Edmonton Oilers and were well-rested.
Again, I was wrong. The Canadiens swept the Jets to make the semifinals against the powerful Vegas Golden Knights, who overcame a 2-0 deficit against the Colorado Avalanche to win the final four games in the West Division final. I picked Vegas to win in six.
I did get the number of games right, just not the winner of the series.
This Canadiens team reminds me of their Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1986 and 1993. Those teams weren’t overly flashy, and they took advantage of some breaks to win those Cups.
Can they get some breaks against the defending Stanley Cup-champion Tampa Bay Lightning? The Lightning are coming off an emotionally charged seven-game semifinal series win over the New York Islanders.
The Canadiens are the last Canada-based team to win the Cup. Does that 27-year streak end this year? No, but it won’t shock me if they do win, which would make my Cup predictions record 7-8.
Lightning in 7, so I can go 8-7.