Montreal fans have fond memories of the 1992-93 NHL season because it was the last time the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup. But there were plenty of other good storylines during that season 20 years ago … enough for someone to write a good book.
And that’s exactly what Todd Denault has done with A Season In Time: Super Mario, Killer, St. Patrick, the Great One, and the Unforgettable 1992-93 NHL Season. You can read sports editor Stu Cowan’s column on Denault’s book by clicking here.
As we wait and hope for an end to the NHL lockout, we’ll let Canadiens fans relive the 1992-93 season at HIO by posting game stories from that season.
The Habs took a 1-3-1 record into Minnesota on Oct. 17, 1992 to take on the North Stars.
Here is Red Fisher’s story from that game:
Habs find their offence against Stars
NORTH STARS 1
Smart fella, that Patrick Roy.
Only a few nights ago, the Canadiens goaltender was grumbling that what the Canadiens needed desperately to start holding their head high again was offence.
“We’re not going to win games with only two goals against the Pittsburgh Penguins,” he muttered in the wake of a 5-2 loss to the Penguins in a game which wasn’t that close.
What he could have added, but didn’t, was that the Canadiens would find it difficult to win with the level of goaltending he provided against the Penguins.
Last night, though, Roy got the offence he craved and provided the goaltending his colleagues wanted. Result: an 8-1 romp over the Minnesota North Stars in which 13 players provided at least one point.
Among them was Guy Carbonneau, who was something of a surprise starter. What wasn’t a surprise, however, was that he contributed hugely in a game which produced goals from John LeClair, J.J. Daigneault, Benoit Brunet, two by Patrice Brisebois, Brian Bellows and Stephan Lebeau and Kevin Haller.
The LeClair, Brisebois, Haller and Lebeau goals were their first of the season.
Apparently, it’s easy if you know how – and someone such as Carbonneau surely knows.
He had been out of the lineup almost three weeks, and the suggestion that he would be back in time for the North Stars was denied vigorously. So yesterday morning, there he is getting prepared for his first game of the season and who makes the big play on the Canadiens’ first goal – by LeClair?
Carbonneau, of course.
The puck is behind the Minnesota net during a delayed penalty on the North Stars, and Carbonneau squeezes it loose. A special delivery (click!) to LeClair who’s standing on the lip of the crease and (click!) he beats Darcy Wakaluk easily.
From the start, it was clear that the Canadiens were intent on turning up the volume – all the more so since their captain was back. And Cap Carbo made it look good in a first period dominated by the Canadiens, but what’s this that’s happening early in the second period?
Did somebody steal the wheels? If not, why is it that even while the Canadiens were enjoying a power-play advantage early in the period, the North Stars were in the process of outshooting them, 7- 0, and also scored the only goal. A strange goal, too, against a Patrick Roy who came all the way back on this night.
Imagine, for a moment, Modano lifting a soft knuckleball from a step inside the blue line. Roy, who had saved brilliantly on Neal Broten during a Canadiens’ power play a moment earlier, moves easily across his crease to steer the shot into the corner. It never got to him. Instead, the puck struck Brisebois’s pads and was re-directed into the opposite corner.
These things are meant to let the air out of the balloon, and almost always do. Happily for the Canadiens, however, they got goals from Daigneault and Brunet on their first two shots, which, it’s imagined, is what re-discovering the wheels is all about.
It also helps, when the opposing goalie isn’t quite as sharp as he should be. There was little he could do when one of his defenders deflected the Daigneault shot behind him – much like what Brisebois had inflicted on Roy. There was a lot he could have done with the Brunet shot – a long one he lost.
Brisebois’s goal, his first of the season, also was a deflection – and it effectively put an end to any hopes the North Stars had. It also spoiled, to some extent, what was a homecoming, of sorts, for Minnesota coach Bob Gainey and former Canadiens’ Mike McPhee and Russ Courtnall.
McPhee had four of Minnesota’s 20 shots in the second period, Courtnall three of his team’s 28 in the first two. McPhee also had one taken away from him in the first few seconds of the third period, but that’s where it ended, though, mostly because Roy, who had struggled during Thursday’s 5-2 loss to the Penguins, was at the top of his game. He had to be, when it’s considered that the only shot which eluded him in Minnesota’s 20-shot second period was a strange deflection. That’s the Roy the Canadiens have leaned on for a long time.
NOTES – Patric Kjellberg and Ed Ronan didn’t make it to the lineup … Gilbert Dionne was back on a line with Denis Savard and Lebeau.
(Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)