As we wait and hope for an end to the NHL lockout, we’ll let Canadiens fans relive the 1992-93 season – the last year the Habs won the Stanley Cup – at HIO by posting game stories from that season.
The Habs took a 2-3-1 record into a game against the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 19, 1992 at the Forum. Here is Red Fisher’s story from that game:
Now that’s entertainment; Ewen tallies twice as Habs out- freewheel Blues
The Canadiens are learning the hard way that nothing is likely to come easy this season. Add this: it’s certain to be full of surprises.
There’s the matter, for example, of last night’s 6-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues.
For more than the first 36 minutes, this one belonged to the Canadiens. Ed Ronan and Todd Ewen had scored first-period goals. The Canadiens – as a team – were high flyers, the goaltending was flawless and the defence solid.
Then, in a matter of only two minutes late in the second period, the Blues turned up the volume slightly and the Canadiens muted theirs. Only for a little while, mind you, but there’s Nelson Emerson deflecting a shot beyond Patrick Roy. The goal came on the Blues’ third shot of the period and three shots later, Brendan Shanahan had pulled his associates even with a goal which provided St. Louis defenceman Daniel Laperriere with his first National Hockey League point.
His father, Canadiens assistant coach Jacques, resisted a temptation to applaud – although he joined happily in a salute to Ewen and Bellows, whose goals early in the final period provided the Canadiens with the margin they needed.
Bottom line: it was far from easy for two periods, but somebody up there must have liked what they saw from start to finish last night.
This was a Canadiens team which leaped out of the starting blocks as if it meant business. Industry was what their game was all about – except for the few costly minutes late in the second period.
In other words, there’s nothing complicated about what it takes to win at this level. It’s work. Add this: for the first two periods, at least, it was handled by a referee (Mike McGeough) who allowed the players to do the playing. His whistle stayed in his pocket, where it belonged, for the very good reason that he called an old- time game.
The films probably will show today that there were as many sticks held and as many players stick-checked above the waist as any of the earlier marathon, time-wasting games. What last night’s refereeing demonstrated was that if the players are allowed to play, the game takes care of itself. It’s called flow – and it stuttered only in in the final period when the Canadiens put the game beyond recalled with the early goals and others by Guy Carbonneau and Denis Savard.
Last night, happily, there were no, great yawning gaps in the game during which players spent too much of their time going to and from the penalty box. Everything about this night’s entertainment was high-level stuff, not the least of them Ronan’s first period goal. Suddenly, he’s in alone on Chris Joseph, who played splendidly until the wheels fell off in the final period. Ronan made his move – a quick one to his right – and the Canadiens had a lead they never relinquished.
Ronan, who wasn’t in the lineup for Saturday’s 8-1 romp over the Minnesota North Stars, looked as if he had never left home alongside Savard and Gilbert Dionne. There was nothing tentative or restrained about their work. For that matter, there was very little tentative about Team Whoosh! as a group – and in the absence of penalties, there was ample room for good, hard and intense bodychecking.
In other words, it was the way hockey should be played, although the parcel would have been a better one if several of the players hadn’t capitulated to a smidgen of irrationalism in the final period.
On the other other hand, how does anyone convince tough guy Ewen that it wasn’t time to rumble?
Here, after all, is a guy who scored once and assisted on two others in 46 games last season. He scored eight goals in 115 games with the Canadiens.
Now, suddenly, he’s a two-goal guy for the first time in his career. What’s more, his second of the night came only seconds after he had stepped out of the penalty box. It provided the Canadiens with a 3-2 lead.
It’s time to celebrate after a big goal – and getting involved in his first skirmish of the season is the way Ewen likes to party. What made it acceptable was that the party didn’t start until he and his associates had locked an iron fist around the outcome.
The Canadiens now have poured 14 goals beyond the opposition in two games. Equally important, they’ve allowed only three – although the Blues probably deserved something better.
Brett Hull, for example, had goals taken away from in the first and third periods – the first when his quick shot struck the post, the second when was stopped only partially by Roy in the third period. The spinning then barely missed catching the open net behind Roy.
The San Jose Sharks are visitors tomorrow.
(Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette)