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 4-3-2 record into a game against the Flyers in Philadelphia on Oct. 24, 1992. Here is Red Fisher’s story from that game:
Habs win shootout in Philadelphia; Canadiens get job done without supporting Racicot
PHILADELPHIA – It seems that Jacques Demers had a heart-tugging monologue to deliver to his troops during the first intermission of this shootout. Such as:
“Hey, guys, it’s true we’re leading this thing, 4-3, but we’ve got to bear down for Andre, right? We can’t leave him out there alone, right? Got that, guys?”
Andre is Racicot, who’s the backup goaltender for this bunch which held on mightily to handle the Philadelphia Flyers, 7-6. He has now allowed 14 goals in the two games he’s played.
“Racicot wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t great, either,” coach Demers was to mention much later. “On the other hand, I’ve got to ask the players how much did we bear down for him? Not much.”
Listen, for a moment, to Mike Keane, who was the Canadiens’ best player with his goal and assists on others by Lyle Odelein, Patrice Brisebois and Stephan Lebeau:
“For some reason, we don’t play as well in front of him as we do in front of Patrick Roy,” said Keane. “I don’t know why. Is it because we know Patrick will make the second and third stops and Andre doesn’t? What I do know is that it’s the team’s job to tighten up. We’re the ones who have to bear down.
“I thought he made a lot of good stops, but I don’t think we helped him a lot. He allowed eight goals in Buffalo the last time he played,” added Keane. “He also had 50 shots. How much help did we give him?”
The Canadiens, you should know, barely helped Racicot at all during last night’s fading moments, when the Flyers came storming back from a 7-4, third-period deficit. First, Greg Paslawski scored the last of his three goals a little beyond the midway point of the period to haul the Flyers to within two. Then Brian Benning beat Racicot with fewer than two minutes remaining, thus setting the table for an all-out assault by the Flyers for the tying goal. History will note they missed by only inches – but they missed.
“The last goal,” Demers was to mention, “was a bad one, but I’ve got to be fair to the kid. I’ve used him twice now in the second of back-to-back games. In other words, he’s played behind a team which had something taken out of it the night before.
“He’s still got to prove the job belongs to him, but I won’t really know a whole lot about him until he plays behind a fresh team, know what I mean?”
This was an ugly game in many ways, particularly in the nets. Stephane Beauregard, for example, was driven from his post after the Canadiens got goals from Brian Bellows, Mathieu Schneider, Gilbert Dionne and Keane on only six first-period shots. His replacement, Dominic Roussel, was beaten by Odelein in the second, and by Brisebois and Lebeau in the third.
This was a night when most people, and particularly Flyers fans, who left the arena in bunches after Lebeau had provided his associates with a three-goal margin, were moved to wonder where have all the goalies gone? Not, apparently, to Philadelphia.
Beauregard was a mediocre performer on a plucky team. Eric Lindros came out of this one with assists on all three Paslawski goals, but he wasn’t The Force, so to speak. He is a long way from grabbing these Flyers by the throat and lifting them to a playoff level.
Too much about this game was ugly, starting with the goaltending, but there surely was something positive for the Canadiens to take with them out of it and, for that matter, the weekend.
The victory, for example, provides them with a 4-0-1 record on their current streak. They’ve scored 32 goals during that time – and the best thing about the offence is that it’s come from a flood of players.
Right now, this is a team bubbling with confidence – except in the area of backup goaltending.
“That’s our fault, nobody else’s,” insists Keane. “I mean, if we can play well in front of a Patrick Roy, we should be able to do the same in front of any other goaltender. We’re finding out we can score the goals, but we can’t forget about our defence.”
That, obviously, includes not forgetting about Racicot the next time he’s called upon to be part of the gang which has learned to shoot straight.
(Photo by Peter Martin/The Gazette)