Canada's Stanley Cup drought now stands at 15 years and counting.
The Montreal Canadiens, Canada's last hope to bring the Stanley Cup home, dropped a 6-4 decision to the Philadelphia Flyers on home ice Saturday night, losing their Eastern Conference in five games and bowing out of the playoffs.
With the score tied 4-4, Flyers forward Scottie Upshall re-directed a point shot past goalie Carey Price at 16:56 of the third period to break the hearts of Montreal fans and eliminate the top-seeded Canadiens from the post-season.
"For us, being down two goals in the middle of the second period, we knew we had to keep pouring it on … I just thought it was a total team effort," Upshall told Hockey Night in Canada after the game.
The 1993 Habs remain the last Canadian team to win Lord Stanley's Mug.
Montreal's loss also means the Stanley Cup final will not feature a Canadian team for the first time since 2006.
Price looked solid through the first 40 minutes and Montreal seemed to have the game well in hand, but the rookie netminder fell apart late in the second period when he gave up three goals on six shots in a three-minute span, as the Canadiens' seemingly impervious 3-1 lead was quickly wiped out by the Flyers.
Price, yanked from Game 3 when he conceded three goals on 12 shots, was given the starting assignment after sitting out Thursday's 4-2 loss in Philadelphia, and although he was brilliant at times Saturday, just as often he looked shaky and unsure of himself.
"It's probably the toughest loss in my career so far," the 20-year-old Price said. "I don't like losing one bit.
"It's tough to swallow."
Upshall thinks Price will bounce back from this disappointment.
"He's going to have a great career," said Upshall, who played against Price as a junior in the Western Hockey League.
"Carey helped the Canadiens win the Eastern Conference this year, he came in and played great, being a young guy with a lot of pressure on his back. I thought he really held his own, and he's going to be another Patrick Roy."
"It's not an easy situation for (Price). I'm sure he felt the pressure and that there are a few goals he's like to have back, but you have to learn from these experiences," said Habs captain Saku Koivu.
"There's a goaltender who will win a Stanley Cup for this team one day. He's that good."
Both Price and Flyers goalie Martin Biron made 31 saves on the night.
Price was solid early on, making a sensational pad save on Mike Richards while the Flyers were playing shorthanded. That gave Montreal a jolt of energy, as the Habs quickly moved the puck up the ice and converted on the power play, Tomas Plekanec tipping in a slapshot from the point past Biron at 4:29.
Philadelphia tied things up at 10:20 on a spectacular goal by R.J. Umberger. Price stopped Umberger on a two-on-one break but the Flyers forward got his stick on the rebound just as he was sliding on his back in front of the crease and knocked the puck into the net.
Montreal re-took the lead a minute later when Maxim Lapierre's wraparound attempt deflected off the skate of teammate Alexei Kovalev and crossed the goal-line.
Habs forward Chris Higgins made it 3-1 at 8:15 of the second before Montreal took two consecutive minor penalties midway through the period, but Price made a trio of brilliant saves while the Habs were two men short to keep the Flyers at bay.
Price couldn't hold them back forever, though, and Richards was credited with a goal at 14:02 when Umberger's point shot deflected off his shoulder and eluded the Canadiens netminder.
The play went upstairs for review, but the goal stood when it was ruled Richards did not use his hand to direct the puck into the net.
Umberger drew the Flyers even at 15:44 with a wraparound attempt that Price should have saved, and Philadelphia took the lead 66 seconds later when Scott Hartnell blew a wicked slap shot by the rookie, off the post and in.
The goal was Umberger's eighth of the series and ninth of the playoffs.
With three goals in three minutes, the Flyers were suddenly in control and Price and the Canadiens were reeling.
The third period began much like the middle frame did — with both teams coming out and playing barnstorming hockey — and it didn't take long for the goals to come.
Montreal's Andrei Kostitsyn made it a 4-4 game at 2:13 when he breezed into the Flyers' zone and ripped a wrist shot through traffic and by Biron.
The teams traded great scoring chances in the final 10 minutes of regulation, with Price making a fantastic stop to deny Daniel Briere on a breakaway and Montreal rung a shot from the circle off the crossbar.
With contest appearing to be headed to overtime, Upshall scored his third goal of the playoffs with 3:04 left in regulation, tipping in a Jeff Carter point shot over Price's shoulder.
Mike Knuble added an empty-net goal in the final minute to seal the win for the Flyers.
"Hopefully, we will continue to grow as a team and that the next time we're in this situation, we'll be a better team," said Koivu.