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 an 18-8-3 record into a game against the Los Angeles Kings on Dec. 9, 1992 in Phoenix. Below is Red Fisher’s story from that game:
Damphousse is toast of Habs after his hat trick
PHOENIX – Vincent Damphousse awoke to a sun-washed day saying all of the right things, such as:
“It’s great to skate like that and find my touch around the goal. That’s why they traded for me.”
Or: “I had two cracks at getting the winner in overtime. The wraparound. If I had scored, that would have been nice for the guys.”
And: “It’s much better than the four I scored in the All-Star Game, but all-star games … you know what they’re like. Wide-open.”
“What about the four you scored with Edmonton last year?”
“I did? Yeah, I guess I did, but it was one of those 10-something games. Not like this.”
What Damphousse did in 7:02 in the last half of Tuesday’s 5-5 classic with the Los Angeles Kings is not like anything any Canadiens player has done in recent memory.
“It made things good for everybody on the team,” said Denis Savard. “He was so excited over what he did, he made everybody on this team feel good.”
“He’s worked so hard from the start of the season – something had to start going in,” said Mathieu Schneider.
The Damphousse name (he had 10 of the Canadiens’ 28 shots) was on everybody’s lips yesterday – not only because of the number of goals and when they were scored. It was because of the way they were scored which dazzled his colleagues.
They weren’t merely important and/or good goals. They were great ones – starting in the 13th minute of the last period.
Up until Mount Vincent’s eruption, Schneider and Mike Keane had provided the Canadiens with a 2-0 lead in the first period. Then, the Kings roared back with goals from Luc Robitaille, Mike Donnelly and Jari Kurri in the second period. So when Paul Coffey and Robitaille provided the Kings with a three-goal margin in the first seven minutes of the third, time to roll over, right? Gone.
12:20 – Damphousse is in alone on Kelly Hrudey, waits the required amount of time until the Los Angeles goaltender starts going down. Damphousse goes high.
17:06 – The line is maintaining pressure, and there’s Damphousse in front of Hrudey. He beats the goaltender even while he’s falling to the ice.
19:29 – Patrick Roy had been replaced by a sixth attacker 31 seconds earlier. Now, Damphousse is in the slot area, and one-times a shot into the open side.
“He was a seven-minute, one-man show,” said a beaming coach Jacques Demers. “Only (Wayne) Gretzky and (Mario) Lemieux can put on a show like that.”
“Worried? Me worried?” Keane asked yesterday.
“Not with this team,” insisted Keane, who is Damphousse’s linemate.
“All you do is give him the puck, and he does the rest,” added Lebeau.
“Some games you worry, others you don’t,” said Keane. “I wasn’t worried.”
The Canadiens had been held to three shots in the second period and only two in the first half of the third – and Keane wasn’t worried? Sure, he wasn’t.
One win, two losses and a tie – which is what the Canadiens are bringing home with them today, don’t represent major-league accomplishment for a team with ideas of finishing first in its division. Damphousse, however, made it work with what surely was the biggest point the Canadiens have salvaged in several seasons.
“Something like that … it turns around a whole season for a team,” beamed Demers.
“I keep thinking about the wraparound in overtime,” said Damphousse. “I had only one hand on my stick. I couldn’t get the shot up, but they tell me that somebody had a good chance with the rebound.”
The rebound on Damphousse’s second crack at Hrudey went to Eric Desjardins, who had swept deep into the Los Angeles zone. His shot was heading for an open side, but… .
“The puck hit my pad,” said Lebeau. “I just happened to be there and the puck hit me.”
This one was, in every way, an example of a team rising out of the ashes to the mountaintop.
“I wasn’t feeling good about any part of this game, except for our guys taking a first-period lead,” said Demers. “Damphousse saved us, but what I also learned is that Lebeau (four assists) has an unbelievable amount of character. I made sure to tell him that after the game.
“I mean, he was in a game against a very good, very physical team. He didn’t take one step backward. That tells me a lot about him.”
The Canadiens left Phoenix this morning for an all-day flight home. Tomorrow, however, is another working day awaiting Saturday’s visit of the Boston Bruins. They’re in New York against the Rangers on Sunday.
(Photo by Richard Arless Jr./The Gazette)