Even if winning the Stanley Cup seemed like a long shot by the time Monday rolled around, Montreal Canadiens fans were happy to see their team win a game in the Final.
Nikita Kucherov was amused by that.
The Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that operated this postseason about $18 million over the salary cap, won the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday with a 1-0 victory over the Canadiens in Game 5. If not for Montreal’s Game 4 win, the Habs would have been swept on their home ice.
After the Bolts won the Cup, their second straight, the festivities began. Kucherov, Tampa’s star winger who missed the entire regular season but was healthy in time for the playoffs, was half in the bag by the time his press conference rolled around.
He took it shirtless, and proceeded to rip on Canadiens fans.
“I’m so happy we, I didn’t want to go back to Montreal but they acted, the fans in Montreal, come on,” he said. “They acted like they won the Stanley Cup last game. Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? Their Final was last series.”
(You can watch some of his presser here)
Though he didn’t put it super eloquently, Kucherov’s point isn’t entirely wrong. The Canadiens basically snuck into the postseason because their division stunk, then pulled off one improbable series win after another. The Habs getting bushwhacked by Tampa and its nearly $100 million club in the final round is not much of a surprise.
It’s also worth pointing out the second round of the postseason was the first time the Canadiens even had fans in the building, something the Lightning had since early in the season. Certainly, the 3,500 people in attendance at Games 3 and 4, the latter in particular, were just happy to see their team not only in a Cup Final, but in person.