The Montreal Canadiens are headed to the third round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Tyler Toffoli scored the overtime winner as the Canadiens (-145) beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 in Game 4 on Monday night.
The Habs were +1000 to sweep the Jets.
A +2800 long shot to win the Stanley Cup after they were the last team to clinch a playoff berth, Montreal is now the first team to reach the final four.
Here is the Morning Coffee for Tuesday June 8, 2021.
Habs reach final four
There will be a lot of talk in the coming days about the challenge that the Habs will face in the Stanley Cup semifinal, regardless of whether they play the Colorado Avalanche or Vegas Golden Knights.
In order to fully grasp what they will be up against, it’s important to look back at how they got here.
Trailing 3-1 in their best-of-seven series with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal rallied with three straight wins as an underdog to shock the North Division winner.
The Canadiens were an underdog in Game 1 against the Jets, but after winning the opener and then taking Game 2 in a pick’em, the Habs were the favourite to win Games 3 and 4.
Montreal’s seven-game win streak is their longest since an NHL record 11-game win streak in 1993 when they last won the Stanley Cup.
They have not trailed for a single second over that span.
The Canadiens will undoubtedly be a significant series underdog regardless of whether they face the Avalanche or Golden Knights.
From the outset of the second round, I predicted that whichever team advanced would lose to the winner of the Vegas/Colorado series.
For as impressive as the Habs have been, I’m not willing to change that prediction now.
However, there is one stat that I stumbled across that caused me to pause.
Montreal has won each of its last two series that they played against a top-two team from the regular season.
In the first round of the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Canadiens rallied to beat Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.
In the second round of the 2014 playoffs, the Habs beat Patrice Bergeron and the Boston Bruins.
Both of those Montreal teams were completely outmatched on paper.
While the Canadiens will be an underdog again against the Avalanche or Golden Knights, there is something to be said about the fact that they were able to get this far in the first place.
Maybe they shouldn’t be completely overlooked heading into the final four.
Islanders push Bruins to the brink
The New York Islanders pushed the Boston Bruins to the brink of elimination with a 5-4 win in Game 5.
The Islanders were completely outplayed in stretches, getting outshot 44-19.
Mathew Barzal, Jordan Eberle and Josh Bailey each finished with a goal and an assist, Semyon Varlamov made 40 saves and Brock Nelson scored the eventual winner to give New York a 3-2 series lead.
Teams that take a 3-2 lead in an NHL best-of-seven own a 328-88 all-time series record, including a 4-1 mark in this year’s playoffs.
The Islanders are now a -225 series favourite.
Nets look just fine without Harden
Kevin Durant scored a game-high 32 points in just 33 minutes as the Brooklyn Nets (+105) beat the Milwaukee Bucks 125-86 to take a 2-0 series lead.
It was the largest playoff win in Brooklyn’s franchise history.
Kyrie Irving had 22 points, six assists and five rebounds. Bruce Brown and Joe Harris scored 13 each.
Any concerns about Nets’ futures with James Harden sidelined were quickly put to rest.
Brooklyn led by as many as 49 points in the lopsided win.
That is the franchise’s largest lead in any game, regular season or playoffs, over the past 25 seasons.
While we still don’t have a timeline for Harden’s return, the Nets could be just fine without him until the NBA Finals, especially if Durant continues to perform at the level he has though two games.
Suns take Game 1 versus Nuggets
Chris Paul scored 21 points with 11 assists as the Phoenix Suns (-5.5) cruised to a 122-105 win over the Denver Nuggets in Game 1.
Phoenix trailed by as many as 10 points in the third quarter.
However, they put together multiple impressive runs, including outscoring Denver 16-0 and 11-0 at different points in the second half.
Paul delivered his ninth career playoff game with 20 points, 10 assists and one or fewer turnover.
Meanwhile, Deandre Ayton had 20 points and 10 rebounds while locking down MVP frontrunner Nikola Jokic during Phoenix’s second-half runs.
As of this morning, the Suns are +275 to win the Western Conference.