BOSTON -

It was 21 years ago when the Montreal Canadiens, the proudest of all NHL franchises, last won the Stanley Cup, the 22nd in their history.

Now, after completely dominating the Boston Bruins in Games 6 and 7 of their second-round playoff series, the Habs have a chance to end the drought. They made it to the league's final four for the first time since 2010 -- and for only the second time since the 1993 Cup run.

"We just beat the best team in the league," coach Michel Therrien said after his Canadiens advanced to meet the New York Rangers in another Original Six matchup.

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals is Saturday afternoon in Montreal.

"Any time you're moving onto the conference finals, it feels good," said defenseman P.K. Subban, a true force in the series. "When you think about it, you have an opportunity to get one step closer to the Stanley Cup.

"We deserve it. We played hard. Nothing has come easy for us all year. We've worked hard for everything we've gotten. As a player, when you hear some of the things that are said and the way people have disrespected us both on and off the ice, I'm happy for this group."

Carey Price made 29 saves, and right winger Dale Wiese, left winger Max Pacioretty and center Daniel Briere scored goals for the Canadiens on Wednesday.

Montreal stayed alive with a 4-0 home win in Game 6 and had the better jump in their step from the outset of Game 7.

The Canadiens finished 17 points behind the Presidents' Trophy-winning Bruins in the regular season.

"We were just tenacious the whole series," said Price, who was brilliant throughout. "We didn't give up at any point. We laid it all on the line."

After the game, Bruins left winger Milan Lucic apparently made threats to Wiese and defenseman Alexei Emelin in the handshake line. Wiese relayed that to the media, and Lucic was upset that he did. Lucic and Emelin went at it all season. Hard feelings, but the Canadiens still paid tribute to the Bruins, who were seeking their second Stanley Cup and third trip to the finals in four years.

"Listen, I've got nothing but respect for that team," Subban said. "There's a reason they won the Stanley Cup a couple of years ago and they finished with the best record in the league and they won the Presidents' Trophy. They're a great team, but you do what you can to win."

Boston coach Claude Julien pointed to his younger players (especially on defense, where the Bruins missed injured veteran Dennis Seidenberg) being tight in Game 7.

"We had a great season, and we did a lot of good things," he said. "When you look at the whole picture, it's a lot brighter than the ending."

Added Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, "I would lie to you if I say it's not disappointing, especially after the season we had."

Briere, who set up the Wiese goal, put the game away when his late power-play centering pass hit Chara's skate and deflected past goaltender Tuukka Rask.

Right winger Jarome Iginla scored the lone Bruins goal, cutting a 2-0 Montreal lead in half late in the second period. Iginla had several chances in the third but couldn't score.

"It's really tough. It's really disappointing," Bruins left winger Brad Marchand said. "We expected to go all the way this year. It's hard to put into words."

It took the Canadiens just 2:18 to quiet the loud crowd. Montreal won a puck chase in the corner, left winger Brandon Prust getting the puck to Briere and Briere finding Wiese's stick in the crease.

The lead was significant because the team scoring first won all 13 previous second-round games in the Eastern Conference playoffs.