The art of the upset
“I know there are people who are saying we won’t last long in the playoffs, but I really am confident we can win this,” declared the Habs’ power play specialist.
Bergeron isn’t just hoping that an underdog, eighth-place team can take down a top seed and just keep on rolling deep into the spring; he lived it. In 2006, he and the Edmonton Oilers slipped in to the playoffs as the No. 8 seed, taking on the President’s Trophy-winning Detroit Red Wings in the first round.
“I remember going to Detroit for Game 1 and thinking ‘Oh my God, what is this?’ Playing in that building was something else. It’s an old barn with a whole lot of history,” recalled Bergeron, who was skating in just his second career NHL playoffs that year alongside current Habs teammate Jaroslav Spacek.
The upstart Oilers shocked the hockey world that spring, knocking off the mighty Red Wings in six games in a preview of what was on deck for the next few rounds. Edmonton kept right on rolling, ousting the Sharks in Game 6 before winning the Western Conference championship and advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals in a five game series against the Ducks.
“In 2006, before we played the Red Wings, I didn’t have this kind of faith,” admitted Bergeron, who notched two crucial power goals en route to the Finals that year. “Before that series, I thought maybe we could battle and play with them, but I never would’ve believed it could have gone the way it did. Eventually, we just took control and beat them. I know now that anything really is possible.”
Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Shauna Denis.
Vote for the play of the week - April 12
First round schedule unveiled