Carey Price put his hands on his head and savored the moment.
The Montreal Canadiens goalie seldom shows emotion, but in this instance, he couldn’t help himself.
Secs earlier, he’d watched Artturi Lehkonen score the series-winning goal at 1:39 of overtime to give the Canadiens a 3-2 triumph against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals in Bell Centre in Montreal on Thursday, and the reality was establishing in.
He was going to the Stanley Glass Final for the first time in his career.
He received a wink from Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin. He waved to his family in the stands. He needed them to share in the success, much like the entire city of Montreal was.
For the participant selected by the Canadiens with the No. 5 pick in the 2005 NHL Draft, it was time to celebrate with the 3,500 enthusiasts in the arena.
It’s been 28 years since the Canadiens have played in the Cup Final. They will enjoy the Tampa Bay Lightning, with Video game 1 in Tampa on Monday .
Price made 37 saves, none bigger than the a single on defenseman Alec Martinez 1:32 into overtime. Montreal quickly transitioned to offense, ending up with a 4-on-2 that was finished off by Lehkonen.
The Canadiens ended the regular season with 59 points, the fewest of the 16 teams to qualify for the Stanley Glass Playoffs, but Price said they never considered themselves to be underdogs.
The Canadiens had been to the third round of the playoffs twice (2010, 2014) since Cost entered the NHL in 2007. He was hoping the 3rd time would be the appeal, especially after what happened seven years ago.
In Game 1 of the 2014 Eastern Conference Last against the New York Rangers, Price sustained a lower-body injury when Rangers forward Chris Kreider crashed into him skates-initial after missing the net on a breakaway in the second period of New York’s 7-2 victory. He missed the remainder of the best-of-7 series, which the Rangers earned in six online games.
Price was able to be a difference maker this time around. Vegas scored 13 goals in the six video games, nine in the final five.
In the process, he and the Canadiens shut down the Golden Knights’ top two forward lines, specifically their two leading scorers.
Mark Stone led Vegas with 61 points (21 goals, 40 assists) in the standard season, and former Montreal captain Max Pacioretty was second with 51 factors (24 goals, 27 assists), but the two forwards combined for one objective in the series, Pacioretty’s in the third amount of Montreal’s 4-1 win in Game 5.
Today the Canadiens move on, in large part thanks to Price.