There have been many mild upsets but here are the major ones:
#1. Vs. Detroit, 1951 SF-Detroit had become the first team to hit 100 pts. in the standings while the Habs only had 65 pts., 5 games below .500 (they wouldn't finish this badly again until 1983-84 when they won an upset again). But behind Rocket Richard's insanely clutch scoring (OT winners in games 1 and 2 in Detroit) the Habs shocked the heavily favoured Wings, breaking up what could have been 3 straight cups (and 5 in 7 seasons). The series was done in 6 games as the Habs only gave up 12 goals to the league's best offense.
#2. Vs. Boston, 1971 QF-Bruins set tons of records in 70-71 and scored like mad even in this series but not at the near five GPG pace of their regular season. Dryden shut their guns down while the Habs offense woke up led by its many clutch veterans and sensational younger guys.
#3. Vs. Boston, 1984 DSF-The Bruins edged out Buffalo for 1st in the Adams with 104 pts. and were expected to make mince meat out of the Habs who'd slumped to a very un-Habs like 75 pt. finish. The Habs had a carousel of struggling goalies, plenty of aging, slumping stars like Shutt and Lafleur and an injury-plagued year. Bob Berry was canned late in the year in favour of Jacques Lemaire who instilled a defense-first style that paid off when unimpressive in the reg. season Steve Penney got the nod. Penney played so out of his mind he limited the Bruins to just 2 goals in a stunning 3 game sweep (The prelude to it all sounds so familar to this year!)
#4. Vs. Boston, 2002 CQF-The Habs had a storybook ending with Koivu returning from cancer, Audette from a slashed tendon in his forearm and Theodore playing Vezina hockey. But they weren't expected to do much against a stat-studded Boston team that had Joe Thornton, Bill Guerin, Glen Murray among other snipers. Instead, the Habs PP caught fire and the series was evdn through 4 games with neither goalie playing all too well and the offenses were on fire. But then Theodore stood up to the table and backstopped two 2-1 wins to clinch the series in a shocking finish with the team 13 pts. below #1 Boston coming out on top.
#5 Vs. Boston, 2004 CQF-The Habs were victims of Theodore's shaky goaltending in the first four games as they struggled to beat Raycroft. The Bruins won in game 2 and 4 OT in fluky fashion both times (softie by Bergeron and Murray scoring on a break after Kovy and Souray ran into each other) but the Habs still held the edge. With Kovalev making amends and the top players excelling, they pulled off convincing 5-1 and 5-2 wins to send it back to Boston for a game 7 that was a defensive struggle won by two Zednik 3rd period goals and another Hab upset, this time winning after being down 3-1 in the series for the first time in franchise history.
#6 Vs. Pittsburgh, 1998 CQF-The Pens had an unexpectedly good season with the defensive-minded Kevin Constantine turning them around and Jagr leading them offensively in every category imaginable. But the Habs had some clutch performers and Andy Moog outplayed Tom Barrasso to give the Habs a 6-game victory in the series. There were shaky moments for the Habs but they gave two excellent road efforts in game 1 (won it OT by Benoit Brunet) and game 5 before a game 6 shut out sent the Habs to a surprising series victory, their first in 5 years.
#7 Vs. Quebec, 1984 DF-Knocking aside Boston was considered the only excitement they'd get out of the playoffs as the Nordiques had surprisingly swept Buffalo. But Penney and the Habs rejuvenated team were incredible again as the Habs weathered the storm of losing a game 4 OT on Forum ice to shut Quebec out at home in game 5. Then came the whacky game 6, the Good Friday brawl. After the insane fighting was out of the way, the Nords took a 2-0 lead early in the third before watching a monumental comeback of 5 unanswered goals on 5 straight shots on Dan Bouchard. The Habs hung on for a 5-3 win and were 2 wins away from an even bigger upset in the conf. final against the Isles before the champs turned it around. Nonetheless, 1984 was perhps the most unexpected deep run the Habs have ever made (in 1986 they were a surprise but didn't have to face the top-ranked Flyers, Capitals or Oilers along the way).
Last edited by Hab-a-maniac: 04-12-2009 at 04:17 PM.