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 13-4-2 record into a game against the Senators in Ottawa on Nov. 17, 1992. Here is Red Fisher’s story from that game
Canadiens get a small scare; Spot Senators a couple of leads, but roar back
OTTAWA – Jacques Demers stands there, talking in paragraphs about a game which, for a while at least, was roughly equivalent to serving a sentence.
“We played a dangerous game,” said Demers in the wake of last night’s 5-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators who, once upon a time, beat the Canadiens by the same score.
“We were down 2-0 in the first period,” said Demers. “We trailed, 3-1. We came back.
“The guys … in the third period … well, they were simply outstanding. They didn’t give up a thing.”
Demers, you should know, has an uncanny talent for saying all of the right things.
So: “Eric Desjardins has been playing like a general for the last two, maybe three weeks,” said the commander-in-chief. “He’s doing what we want him to do. Before that, he was playing like a corporal, maybe.
“Mathieu Schneider is playing like a Norris Trophy-winner,” said Demers.
“Andre Racicot (three goals on 17 shots) played great in not giving up a fourth goal. Donald Dufresne was very good.”
That’s the general idea of what Demers was saying last night, and for a while there was a tiny question, at least, whether or not Demers would get the opportunity to say any of the right things about so many of his people.
What the Canadiens learned last night was that while the Senators are somewhat less than major-league stuff, teams can’t go around banking points earning them.
What’s certain is that the Canadiens didn’t come close to earning anything during most of the first half of the game, which is why they trailed 2-0 in the first before John LeClair’s wraparound beat Peter Sidorkiewicz.
It’s also why they trailed the Senators 3-1, until Brian Bellows took a handoff from Stephan Lebeau behind the net and caught Sidorkiewicz behind the net.
The problem? Racicot – as much as Demers enjoyed his work – probably would have liked another crack on the Tomas Jelinek goal – a 40-footer early in the second period. He also could have had lots more help on the Mike Peluso goal, after the puck was coughed up at the blue line by Patrice Brisebois. On the other hand, there was nothing he could do about the Jeff Lazaro goal, which opened the scoring midway through the first period.
Nothing is forever with the Senators, of course – for all of the right reasons. They simply don’t have enough, as a team, to maintain the pressure which wins hockey games. They had it when they won their home opener, but they’ve looked for it, without success, since then.
“Hey, we know the Senators are short on talent in some areas,” said Demers, “but you’ve got to work hard against them. That’s what we did, especially in the last half of the game. One loss in 15 games for us … that ain’t bad, is it?”
This game started to unravel in the seventh minute of the second period when Bellows got his goal, and it didn’t get better when General Desjardins marched into the play deep in the Ottawa zone in the 15th minute of the period to beat Sidorkiewicz cleanly.
Then, along comes Mario Roberge with his second goal of the season – both winners – which matches his output for all of last season. Brisebois scored the only goal of the final period.
You should know there was a ripple of feeling among the teams on this night – perhaps because people such as Peluso and Todd Ewen have been far too squeaky-clean thus far. So there’s Peluso, in the final seconds of the second period unloading on Schneider, and there’s Ewen exploding in what appeared to be a fury at the sight.
As it developed, he and Peluso didn’t get together for a chat, or whatever. What both did get, however, were two minors and a misconduct apiece, which effectively made them spectators for the rest of the game.
That’s roughly what Ottawa defenceman Mark Osiecki may have been early in the final period when he popped a puck loose from under his goaltender, allowing Brisebois to jump on it for the goal which left the Senators dead in the water – again.
Tomorrow’s another day – this time against the Nordiques in Quebec.
(Photo by John Kenney/The Gazette)