As we wait and hope for an end to the NHL lockout, Canadiens fans can relive the 1992-93 season – the last year the Habs won the Stanley Cup – at HIO as we post game stories from that season.
The Habs took a 3-3-1 record into a game against the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 21, 1992 at the Forum. Here is Pat Hickey’s story from that game:
Savard heeds Professor Demers; Habs’ big guns leave Sharks bleeding and belly up
The Canadiens are starting to deliver on coach Jacques Demers’s promise of a wide-open, high-scoring offence.
OK, the competition hasn’t been the greatest but the Canadiens are proving they can bury the teams they should bury.
Like the San Jose Sharks, for example.
Sharks coach George Kingston was saying yesterday that the Sharks are still an expansion club in their second season, and they looked like it as the Canadiens beat them 8-4 last night before a disappointing crowd of 15,948 fans.
Despite a third-period flurry by the Sharks, this was a game the Canadiens dominated by practicing what Demers has been preaching.
The coach has been asking the Canadiens to break out quickly from their own zone, and that’s what happened on the Canadiens’ first tally as goalie Patrick Roy hit Denis Savard with a long pass. Savard left a nifty drop pass for Kirk Muller to deposit behind San Jose goalie Jeff Hackett.
And it almost happened on the Canadiens’ second goal, a short- handed effort by Vincent Damphousse. Savard sent Damphousse free on a breakaway. He fired wide of the goal but Savard made up for it by heeding another Demers teaching and fighting for the loose puck. He gave Damphousse another chance and this time Damphousse didn’t miss.
And Savard dug the puck out of the corner yet again for the Canadiens’ thid goal, this time setting up Gilbert Dionne in the slot.
“We’re starting to understand what Jacques wants,” said Savard. “In the beginning, everybody was trying to get involved in the offence and we forgot that this team has always been known for defence. Jacques wants the defencemen to be involved in the offence but we can’t forget the defence. That’s what gave us the opportunities tonight.”
While the veteran Savard was happy to see the Canadiens’ win streak extend to three games, he has been around long enough to offer words of caution.
When asked about the biggest factor in the Canadiens’ turnaround after failing to win in four games, Savard said: “Home ice. We have to look at the teams we’ve beaten. Minnesota’s not too bad but St. Louis and San Jose are struggling. We’ll have a tougher test this weekend when we play the Rangers and the Flyers on the road.”
The Canadiens are in New York tomorrow night and play Eric Lindros and the Flyers on Saturday night.
Savard’s three-assist performance put the Canadiens up 3-1 after the first period and they stretched that lead to 8-1 after two. Another encouraging factor for the Canadiens was that eight different players scored goals for Montreal.
Stephan Lebeau and defenceman Mathieu Schneider scored early in the second period to send Hackett to the showers, while John LeClair, Todd Ewen and Guy Carbonneau scored on former Canadien Brian Hayward.
“It’s good to see the scoring spread around,” said Savard. “Look at a guy like Ewen. We need him to be productive because we have some guys on this team who aren’t very big. When Todd’s out there it’s good to see him produce. I think he has a lot of confidence now because he’s playing well.”
Ewen, who scored only one goal last season, should be confident. He has three goals in the last two games and last night he had almost as many points (two, thanks to an assist on Carbonneau’s goal) as he had penalties (three).
On the downside, the Canadiens did let up in the third period when Ed Courtenay, Petri Skriko (shorthanded) and Yvon Corriveau all scored to make the score semi-respectable. It was the first NHL goal for Verdun native Courtenay, who was cheered by 25 relatives and friends. Pat Falloon scored the other San Jose goal to give the Sharks a short-lived 1-0 lead.
“If you’re going to have a letdown, that’s the time to have it,” said Muller. “You don’t like to let in three goals like that but it’s better to do when you’re in control than to have it happen in the first period.”
It was the fifth consecutive loss for the Sharks after winning their season-opener against Winnipeg. And things don’t promise to get much better since last night’s game marked the beginning of a seven-game road trip for San Jose.
(Photo by Dave Sidaway/The Gazette)