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Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers to continue playoff history

By Marcus Hondro     May 15, 2014 in Sports
The Montreal Canadiens' 3-1 win over the Bruins in Boston in game 7 of their second round series sends them up against the New York Rangers to fight for the right to play in the Stanley Cup final. The two clubs have met in the postseason 14 times.
You might think Les Bleu, Blanc et Rouge (one of Montreal's many nicknames), who dominated the NHL for long periods during the 1950s (five Stanley Cups), the 60s (five Cups) and 70s (six Cup wins), would be leading in series wins against the Rangers. But, NHL fan, you'd be wrong on that count.
Montreal has won seven of those 14 times, the Rangers seven times, too. Part of the reason they have only met 14 times in the playoffs in the 88 years since the Rangers joined in 1926 (the Canadiens have been in the league since the first season, 1917-18) is that the Rangers have so often missed the playoffs. In the 24 seasons from 1942-43 through 1965-66, the Rangers failed to make the postseason 18 times.
Rangers beat Canadiens - in 1996
New York beat the Canadiens the last time they met in the playoffs, in 1996, four games to two. For Montreal, some of the leading players in that series included Mark Recchi, Saku Koivu (with Anaheim now, 1995-96 was his first in the NHL) and Vincent Damphousse (who had four goals and eight points in the series).
New York was lead by Jari Kurri in his only season as a Ranger, Nick Kypreos, Adam Graves, Alex Kovalev and Mike Richter. The Rangers went on to lose to Pittsburgh in the next round. One of the reasons the Canadiens didn't win was goaltending, that was the season they traded Patrick Roy to the Colorado; Roy went on to win the Cup with the Avalanche that season.
Montreal: record Stanley Cup wins
You may think Montreal was the last of the two to win the Cup, but that's not the case. The Canadiens won it last in 1993, beating the Los Angeles Kings in 5 games, and haven't won since; this is the longest Stanley Cup drought in their history (20 years). The Rangers last won the Cup the year after Montreal's last win, in 1994, winning in seven games over the Vancouver Canucks and breaking a franchise record 54 year drought.
The storied Montreal franchise looks to add to a record 23 NHL Stanley Cup victories while the Rangers, the first American team to win the Stanley Cup (1928) are gunning for just their 5th Cup win ever. Both came off of exciting, 7 games series in which they came from behind to win and, as the Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins can attest, are playing their best hockey of 2013-14.
This series will feature Ranger coach Alain Vigneault up against the first team he coached in the NHL. It also features two of the best goalies in the game, Carey Price for Les Habitants and Henrik Lundqvist for New York; each has an Olympic gold medal but neither has won a Stanley Cup.
The series starts Saturday in Montreal at 1 p.m. ET.
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