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 23-14-3 record into a game against the Kings on Jan. 2, 1993 in Los Angeles. Below is Red Fisher’s story from that game:
Habs let one get away
LOS ANGELES – The Canadiens are one point out of the Adams Division’s summit – but have paid at least a small price to get there.
Their 5-5 struggle with a largely sad-looking Los Angeles Kings team last night is what lifted the Canadiens to within a point of the Quebec Nordiques, who fell to the Detroit Red Wings, 6-2. The price: a sore back for Denis Savard.
Savard had gone into the game with a goal and three assists in the Canadiens’ first three road games. He came out after the first period with what the medical staff is calling a bruised lower back. There was swelling in the area, as well.
He’ll need another examination today to determine whether or not he can show up for tomorrow’s game against the San Jose Sharks in Sacramento. Or, for that matter, in San Francisco against the Sharks on Tuesday.
If he can’t make it, Brian Skrudland – who wasn’t dressed last night – is eager to move back into the lineup.
Skrudland was replaced in the lineup by Mario Roberge, who scored the Canadiens’ second goal only 18 seconds after Kirk Muller had opened the scoring fewer than three minutes into the game.
Mike Donnelly scored the Los Angeles goal – late in the first period. That, though, was only the start of what eventually developed into a wild, error-filled game which the Canadiens led 2- 0, trailed 4-2, led 5-4 – and then gave up the tying goal in the final minute of regulation time.
Defenceman Rob Blake produced the tying goal, after scoring the Kings’ second goal, as well. Dave Taylor’s goal only 22 seconds after Blake’s, lifted the Kings into a 3-2 lead, and Darryl Sydor scored another in the third before the Canadiens gathered their legs beneath them for goals from John LeClair, Muller and Vincent Damphousse.
This one had a familiar ring to it … again.
It goes like this:
The Canadiens leap out of the starting blocks, score twice, miss several excellent opportunities to pad their lead – and then, pht-t- t!
Does this sound familiar as well?
Their two first-period goals were an outgrowth of seven shots – and they could have had four. They had the Kings in a position where they could have been reeled in early in the game – and fell short, coming out of the period with only a 2-1 lead.
The reason they could – and should – have had more was that Muller, who had deflected Mathieu Schneider’s shot for the Canadiens’ first goal fewer than three minutes into the game, also missed an open net a few minutes later. Earlier, Roberge’s goal had lifted the Canadiens into a 2-0 lead, the team was flying, the Kings weren’t – and well … there’s Damphousse banking a short shot off the post and Hrudey taking away a long shot from Eric Desjardins during a power play.
Were the Canadiens that good or the Kings that bad?
The Canadiens were better than they have been in recent games in the first period, horrid in the second and decent in the third.
The Kings were fortunate to get out of the first period trailing by only a goal, turned it up in the second when Patrick Roy turned it down – and hung on grimly to send the game into overtime after losing a 4-2 lead.
In other words, this wasn’t blockbuster entertainment – starting from the moment Benoit Brunet was tossed out of the game with a major for an accidental high-sticking. It was while he was out that Donnelly opened the scoring.
Put it this way: this one will have the coaches wide-awake listing blunders – on both sides. The goaltending was completely ordinary, but a reason for it could be that nearly everything taking place in front of both goaltenders was a case of blunder upon blunder.
NOTES – Others who didn’t make it to the lineup were defencemen Kevin Haller and Sean Hill.
(Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)