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 20-10-3 record into a game against the Nordiques on Dec. 17, 1992 at Quebec City’s Colisee. Below is Herb Zurkowsky’s story from that game:
Dr. Hextall, Mr. Hyde; Habs solve goalie in first-period firewagon race
QUEBEC – The Canadiens should adjourn to the boardroom more often.
Following their second consecutive loss Wednesday at the Forum against Quebec, the Canadiens conducted a players-only meeting in the dressing room.
Proving that you can’t have enough of a good thing, coach Jacques Demers conducted his own 30-minute powwow prior to last night’s return game between the two teams.
The quality time spent together obviously worked.
Montreal exploded for six goals in the first period en route to an 8-3 victory over the Nordiques last night before 15,399 spectators at Le Colisee.
It was only the Canadiens’ third victory in their last eight games. The win also prevented Quebec, which was unbeaten in its last five games, from moving into a first-place tie with Montreal in the Adams Division.
“I wanted them to know what I expected of them,” Demers said. “I’m always asked if we have leaders, character players. The answer obviously is yes. We’ve had a rough time lately, but who hasn’t? Nobody panicked.
“I knew the team was ready,” he added. “They were quiet before the game. I didn’t expect them to score six in a period, but I asked them to go to the net.”
Kirk Muller, who paced the Canadiens with two goals, said the team was embarrassed by the Nordiques on Wednesday.
“That was the bottom line,” he said. “It was how we lost in our own rink. It was embarrassing.
“We had to get down to facts. We needed a better effort. We can’t play easy. But we did the simple things and scored eight. That should prove to be a lesson, a reminder.”
As good as Quebec goaltender Ron Hextall was the previous night, he was equally as bad last night, allowing six goals on 10 shots. He was replaced by Stephane Fiset to begin the second period.
The Canadiens scored on their first, fourth, fifth and sixth shots, taking a 4-0 lead. They added their final two goals of the period on their ninth and 10th shots. It was a sight to see.
Two of Montreal’s goals came on the power play with the team enjoying a two-man advantage both times. Conversely, the previous night the Canadiens failed to capitalize on seven manpower advantages.
In between the Canadiens’ offensive explosion, the Nordiques threatened to make a game of it, scoring three consecutive goals in a span of 2:29.
Demers said he considered taking a timeout but, feeling the players were still in control, decided to save it for later in the game, if necessary.
“They scored lucky goals. No one got down,” Mathieu Schneider said. “There were three or four minutes where they got lucky bounces. One came off the boards and a couple were off scrambles. No one panicked.
“But it was a crazy first period,” he added. “Everything happened so quickly.”
Vincent Damphousse, celebrating his 25th birthday, scored a goal and three assists. Damphousse now has 16 goals and 25 assists in 34 games, including 10 goals and 10 assists in his last 10 games.
“My legs feel good and I have lots of energy,” Damphousse said. “No one can score on an 80-goal pace but this is a good stretch for me.
“I’m not really doing anything different. I have more confidence and I’m trying to create something. I’m not hesitating to make the play.”
It was a night when most of the Canadiens chipped in offensively. Brian Bellows, Eric Desjardins, Brian Skrudland, Stephan Lebeau, with his team-leading 17th goal, and Jean-Jacques Daigneault also scored.
(Gazette file photo)