The Habs took a 10-3-2 record into a game against the Calgary Flames on Nov. 9, 1992 at the Forum. Here is Red Fisher’s story from that game:
Canadiens switch on jets; Tied with Penguins for top spot over-all
Mathieu Schneider blinks into the lights of the cameras and, by lemming-like instinct, launches into saying all of the right words in paragraphs.
“I’m jumping into the play more,” he was saying after last night’s 5-2 victory over the Calgary Flames – a solid drubbing which lifted the Canadiens into a tie with Pittsburgh for No. 1 over-all in the National Hockey League standings.
It also extended the Canadiens’ current roll to 10-0-1 during which they’ve made jelly rolls out of most of the teams they’ve faced.
“I jump in and that gets me more aware of what’s going on. Before, when we were playing a boring style, most of us were content to stay back and not do much of anything.
“I like this a lot more,” said Schneider. “It’s the way I played in junior, and it’s the way I’ve always liked to play.”
Schneider said many more of the right things, but all of what this splendid young defenceman was saying (he attracted a standing ovation from Todd Ewen and a sitting one from Mario Roberge after his monologue) could have been delivered in two words:
Nick Polano, who’s been covering a lot of miles this season as a pro scout for the Calgary Flames, was among those who watched the Canadiens get destroyed by the Buffalo Sabres 8-2 early this season.
“I watched the Canadiens,” he was saying last night, “and boy, I had to wonder about them. Now look at them.”
Polano was among those looking at the Canadiens handle the Flames, and yep, look at ‘em now that they’re hockey’s hottest team.
“Right now, they look as if they’re faster than anyone, don’t they?” asked Polano.
“We’re out there pulling away from everybody,” said Schneider. “Every line is doing it. It’s amazing, really, but we haven’t had this much fun in a long, long time.”
Does speed kill?
Maybe not, but close.
In other words, the Canadiens didn’t leave the Flames dead in the water, but there were signs of rigor mortis all over the place.
Once again, they never trailed, getting goals from Schneider and Vincent Damphousse in the first period and Gilbert Dionne and Guy Carbonneau in the second.
Patrice Brisebois added the Canadiens’ fifth goal – on a power play – late in the final period, after a goal by Sergei Makarov midway through the period had lifted the Flames to within two goals.
Chris Lindberg was the Calgary goal-scorer in the first period.
Polano saw the Canadiens at their worst in Buffalo, and it’s safe to say he was watching them at close to, if not at their best, last night.
“I’d have to say that was one of our best efforts this season,” agreed Schneider.
They controlled the tempo with their speed. And, once again, their Big Six on defence locked an iron fist around the traffic in their zone and, in the process, provided Patrick Roy with a fairly easy night. In truth, Roy made it hard on himself when he allowed the Lindberg and Makarov goals from the same spot – sharply angled, short shots from his left which somehow managed to slip beyond him.
In other words, it wasn’t that close, almost from the moment Schneider lashed a long shot beyond Mike Vernon 37 seconds into the game. It may have been much closer, however, if Calgary goaltender Vernon had been more accomplished, let’s say, on the Damphousse backhander midway through the first period which provided the Canadiens with a 2-1 lead.
Put it this way: Damphousse is a sniper, but he’s got better bullets in his arsenal than the one he hissed beyond Vernon. The same surely can be said about the Carbonneau goal, which came with only 12 seconds remaining in the second period after Dionne’s goal lifted the Canadiens into a 3-1 lead.
Once again, as Schneider was saying, this one was an outgrowth of a team playing the game the way it should be played. The Flames, who hadn’t lost in their previous five games and were tied with the Canadiens with 22 points going into it, have been hot stuff.
Everything pointed to something closer, but the Canadiens made it look easy in spots. It could, however, be more difficult in New Jersey tomorrow night.
(Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette)