They are the little team that could, but on this occasion they couldn't.
After a 4-3 game seven overtime loss to their old enemy the Boston Bruins - their third extra-time setback of the series - the Canadiens were understandably disappointed and stung.
The time for perspective for this plucky outfit will come, but it isn't now.
"There's not much to say about that one," said winger Michael Cammalleri. "The puck goes in and that's all she wrote."
"We're proud of the effort we put in, but there's no satisfaction," added Habs defenceman P.K. Subban, who scored on a late third period power-play to tie the game and push the game to extra time.
Of the goal, Subban said "sure, it felt good . . . it doesn't matter now."
There are, of course, several rationalizations at their disposal.
Injuries that rob a team of its top two defencemen and an influential first line winger necessarily have an impact on the end result in the playoffs - the Habs scored exactly zero goals five-on-five in the last two games of the series.
But the Montreal Canadiens weren't especially interested in going down that road on Wednesday night.
Asked if he was proud of what the team accomplished without the services of long-term injury victims Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges and Max Pacioretty, team captain Brian Gionta said "for sure, we showed a lot, we never gave up until the end."
But Gionta wasn't willing to say things would have been different had the team not been short-handed - centre David Desharnais missed the last two games through injury, and players like James Wisniewski, Mathieu Darche, Lars Eller and Jeff Halpern were carrying significant injuries.
All that can sound like making excuses, but Subban preferred to emphasize the role that young players like himself, Eller, Desharnais and Ryan White played.
"It seemed like every time we got rolling this season we'd get a significant injury . . . but the young guys got their opportunities, and they stepped up," he said.
One of said youngsters, goaltender Carey Price, was sparkling this season, and in the final stages of this series.
Price made several miraculous saves to keep it close, including a glove stop and a sprawling stick save, both against Boston's Mark Recchi.
The 43-year-old former Hab had an eventful evening, scoring Boston's second goal in a two-minute first period stretch - Johnny Boychuk had opened the scoring 3:31 into the game - and finding himself at the centre of a neutral-zone bungle that led to Tomas Plekeanec's short-handed equalizer in the second (Yannick Weber had made the game 2-1 on a first-period man-advantage.) Nathan Horton decided the game in overtime with his second extra-time winner of the series, whacking a puck that took a deflection off a defender on its way past Price.
"That's lunchbag let-down right there," the 23-year-old goalie said. "I think we deserved better."
Price was complimentary of opposite number Tim Thomas, and declared "he's the best goalie in the NHL and that team over there has a good chance of winning (the Stanley Cup)."
After the game the atmosphere in the Boston dressing room was only marginally less subdued than in Montreal's - the Bruins know they were fortunate to escape.
They'll now face the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round.
As they did all series, penalties had an incidence on the result - Montreal scored a pair of power-play markers this night to rally from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits.
The Boston Bruins hadn't won a seven-game series in which they'd trailed 0-2 in games in 26 tries in franchise history, they hadn't beaten the Canadiens in a game seven contest in 17 years, and had won a meagre eight of the 32 meetings between the teams in the post-season.
But as Bruins' defenceman Andrew Ference said before the game, prophetically as it turns out, "I'm not big on history."
Afterward, Ference acknowledged that the comeback victory will spur his team on.Report Typo/Error