Montreal Canadiens: 6 Reasons They Will Be Stanley Cup Contenders in 2011-2012

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Montreal Canadiens: 6 Reasons They Will Be Stanley Cup Contenders in 2011-2012
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images
PK Subban and Carey Price in their regular post-win celebration.

Montreal and Boston, Game 7, overtime. We all remember how close it was last year. In fact, the Habs gave the eventual champions a better run for their money than any other team did.  

The kicker? They did it without Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges, their top two defencemen. They also did it without James Wizniewski, who was brought in to ease the pain and recently signed for 6 years and $33 million in Columbus.  Max Pacioretty, who had been their best player since moving up from Hamilton, was also absent because of a near-fatal encounter with the Bruins' Zdeno Chara. They were other injuries as well.

The season before last a healthy Habs team knocked both the President's Trophy-winning Washington Capitals and defending Champions Pittsburgh Penguins out of the playoffs, shocking the hockey world.  Two years before that, we won the conference.

The point here is that the Canadiens have been contenders in the East for years, but were never quite good enough to get it done. Well, here are five reasons this year will be different...

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