Memorable Habs Game 7 highlights
No matter the outcome, there is rarely a dull moment when the Montreal Canadiens take centre stage in a Game 7, winner-take-all format.
Throughout their illustrious history, the Habs have competed in 20 Game 7 matches, winning 12 times.
After upsetting the top-seeded Washington Capitals in seven games during the opening round two weeks ago, Montreal will attempt to do the same to the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET) at Mellon Arena.
If history provides any indication, the Canadiens will likely make this Game 7 as memorable as the many they've competed in over the last 61 years.
Here is CBCSports.ca's look at some of the top Game 7 moments in Canadiens lore:
Boston-Montreal (Stanley Cup semifinal — 1979)
Hall of Fame sportswriter Red Fisher was so certain the Canadiens' dynasty would end on the night of May 10, 1979, that he decided to beat the other reporters down the elevator before getting reaction from the dejected Montreal team. Who could blame him? Trailing the Boston Bruins 4-3 late in the third period, things looked bleak for the Club de hockey Canadien. However, a gift was handed to the team after a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty was given out to a stunned Bruins side — a call that still gives Hockey Night in Canada commentators Don Cherry nightmares. Moments later, Guy Lafleur blasted a shot by Boston goaltender Gilles Gilbert to force overtime. All it took was the roar of the Montreal faithful for Fisher to realize Montreal had tied the game. Yvon Lambert buried the Bruins in the extra frame, propelling the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup final and a fourth straight championship.
Chicago-Montreal (Stanley Cup final — 1971)
After knocking off the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins on the strength of rookie goaltender Ken Dryden, the Habs found themselves in a Game 7 against a more talented Blackhawks team in Chicago. With a 2-0 lead in the second period, the Blackhawks seemed destined to win their first title in 10 years. The Canadiens, however, had other ideas as they drew even with two goals. Henri Richard then deflated a hostile Chicago Stadium crowd by scoring 2:34 remaining in the game, sending Montreal to another Stanley Cup celebration.
Quebec-Montreal (Adams Division final — 1985)
Of all the memorable playoff matchups in NHL history, none was as intense or bitter as the all-Quebec battles between the Canadiens and Nordiques. The Quebec combatants played six hard-fought games in 1985, setting up a final confrontation at the Montreal Forum. Down 2-0 in the third, the Canadiens rallied for two goals and appeared headed for a certain Game 7 comeback. Unfortunately, the rally was short-lived. Peter Stastny slipped a shot by an out-of-position Steve Penny in overtime to silence a shocked Montreal crowd and send Quebec to the next round.
Hartford-Montreal (Adams Division final — 1986)
This was supposed to be an easy series for the Canadiens, but the upstart Whalers refused to go away quietly. After shutting out Montreal in Game 6, Hartford put fear into the hearts of Montreal fans when a third-period goal pushed the final contest into a tense overtime. The first 20 minutes produced no scoring, further increasing the uneasiness in the building. Habs rookie Claude Lemieux finally broke the tension in the second overtime as he emerged from behind the Whalers' net before backhanding a shot over goaltender Mike Liut.
Washington-Montreal (Eastern Conference quarter-final — 2010)
The Canadiens had no business pushing the high-flying Washington Capitals to a Game 7. As the highest-scoring offence in the regular season, the Capitals finished 33 points ahead of Montreal and sported snipers Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. The Canadiens, on the other hand, barely made it into the post-season. To no one's surprise, the Caps took a 3-1 series lead and appeared ready for an easy elimination victory. Remarkably, the Habs battled back, winning three games with the help of the stellar goaltender performance of Jaroslav Halak. In the final game, Halak made 41 saves, helping the Canadiens to a 2-1 upset victory in Washington. During the last three victories, the Slovakian sensation made 131 of 134 stops while holding Ovechkin without a goal in the last two contests.