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 15-5-2 record into a game against the Washington Capitals at the Forum on Nov. 23, 1992. Below is Red Fisher’s story from that game.
Note: RDS will show Game 5 of the 1993 Cup final between the Canadiens and L.A. Kings – a series the Habs won 4-1 – at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Goaltenders steal show; Caps and Canadiens snipers fit to be tied
Stephan Lebeau, a gentle soul who almost never complains about anything, was muttering quietly on this night.
“Are they back?” he wondered aloud in the wake of this 1-1 struggle with the Washington Capitals. “Is the hooking back? The holding? The last game against Ottawa … I don’t think I’ve ever seen as much of it. Tonight, again.”
It could be that the hooking and holding – which attracted a flood of penalties during the first six weeks of the schedule, and now barely rates a second look – was the reason Lebeau, for example, had his six-game points streak snuffed out.
It may even be that scoring opportunities by other Canadiens were erased that way, but when a team outshoots the opposition 37-26, as the Canadiens did, perhaps a better idea would be to look at the goaltenders.
Start with Don Beaupre.
“He was great,” agreed Lebeau.
Add Patrick Roy.
“He’s always great,” said Lebeau.
This one belonged to the goaltenders, up to and including the overtime, when Roy was a game-saver.
It happened three minutes into into it when somehow, Kelly Miller was allowed to sweep in alone on Roy from the side.
“If you don’t pokecheck him just at the right time,” the suggestion was made to Roy, “you’re in big trouble.”
“If I don’t pokecheck him,” said Roy, “it’s in the net.
“I should have had a shutout,” he continued. “I went down too fast on their goal.”
That one was scored by Todd Krygier early in the second period, after John LeClair’s sixth goal of the season midway through the first had provided the Canadiens with a 1-0 lead. After that, it was goaltending time.
How good was Roy? Put it this way: If a game’s rest (he sat out Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Ottawa) is what Roy needs to be on top of his game, a little more R and R should be a priority from here onward.
A guy’s game doesn’t get higher than, let’s say, the goal he took away from Michal Pivonka during a Washington power play in the first period. And quickness was what he was all about in the overtime when he spoiled what could have been a party for Miller.
Then, of course, there’s Beaupre, who has been absorbing a generous measure of heat from coach Terry Murray in recent weeks.
“That’s true,” agreed Washington general manager David Poile, “but the fact is, Beaupre has been been having his problems late in the game. He’s done very well early, and lost it in the last few minutes. We’d be leading 4-2 late in a game, and the next thing that happened is that we were down, 5-4.
“We haven’t been getting the complete package.”
Until last night, that is. Beaupre was merely exceptional during the first two periods, particularly in the second period when he held off 18 Canadiens shots. A 19th by Mathieu Schneider beat Beaupre, but a chap named Mark Faucette ruled otherwise.
Referee Faucette called back the goal in the final minute when, in his judgment, Kirk Muller was in the crease while the puck was going in the net. Muller was indeed in the crease – before Schneider’s shot beat Beaupre. However, he was out of it before the puck was hissing beyond the Washington goaltender. The Canadiens held a two-man advantage at the time.
This was, in every way, a Beaupre-Roy event. Both were responsible for game-saving stops. Beaupre made more, but Roy contributed his share. What’s also certain, though, is that both goaltenders needed a little help from their friends along the way.
Roy was the difference in a one-on-one confrontation with Miller early and late in the game, but Al Iafrate had an open side early in the third – and flubbed his shot.
(Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette)