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by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
Senators' speedy playoff run recalls Habs dominance

The 1975-76 Canadiens barely broke a sweat on their way to their first of four straight Stanley Cups.

MONTREAL - When it's been 80 years since a city last celebrated a Stanley Cup, who could blame the Senators for being a little anxious to win the Cup this year. Even if they continue their break-neck playoff pace, Ottawa's run would still pale in comparison to the Canadiens, who know a thing or two about wasting no time raising the Cup in the spring.

With five-game victories over the Penguins, Devils and Sabres already in the books, the Senators could be on their on their way to the fastest Stanley Cup triumph in a decade. The Detroit Red Wings went 16-4 in the spring of 1997 to claim their first of back-to-back championships.

But when it comes to the calf-roping approach of winning a Stanley Cup, no one does it better than the Canadiens. The two most dominant Cup runs in the modern era each came courtesy of the Habs.

On their march to Stanley Cup No. 15 in 1968, Jean Beliveau and the Canadiens went 12-1, with their only loss coming to the Blackhawks in the semi-finals, sandwiched between sweeps of the Bruins and Blues.

The Habs were at it again in 1976 when they not only won their first of four straight Stanley Cups, but they did so in style. After sweeping the Blackhawks in the opening round, the Canadiens' only hiccup came in Game 4 against the Islanders in the semifinals, setting the stage for a sweep of the Flyers in the Cup final.

Sprint to the Stanley Cup
No teams have won the Stanley Cup more quickly than the Canadiens and Oilers since 1967-68.
1976 12 1 0.923
1968 12 1 0.923
1988 16 2 0.889
1977 12 2 0.857
1969 12 2 0.857

The 1988 Edmonton Oilers boast the most dominant playoff performance since the NHL adopted a four-round, best-of-seven series format in 1987. The only blemishes for the high-flying Oilers that spring came in the first round against the Winnipeg Jets and versus the Red Wings in the Campbell Conference Final. That performance for the ages was overshadowed only a few months later as Conn Smythe Trophy winner Wayne Gretzky was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings.

Only two teams have ever steamrolled their way to a perfect playoff record. The Detroit Red Wings first turned the trick by going 8-0 in 1952 during the Original Six era which saw the playoffs consist of two best-of-seven series.

It was the Canadiens' turn in the spring of 1960, as the Habs won their league-record fifth straight Stanley Cup in grand fashion. Led by Jacques Plante, the Canadiens handled both the Blackhawks and Maple Leafs in four games, outscoring their rivals 29-11 along the way.

In their quest to become the first Canadian-based team to win the Stanley Cup since the 1993 Canadiens, these efficient Senators may also make a little history of their own.

Manny Almela is a writer for

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