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 19-8-3 record into a game against the Boston Bruins on Dec. 12, 1992 at the Forum. Below is Red Fisher’s story from that game:
Sniper Skrudland propels Habs
Mathieu Schneider turns off the steady drone of dialogue taking place to his immediate right, because that’s where Brian Skrudland sits, breathes in deeply and says:
“He brings the best work ethic to a game I’ve ever seen. Whether he’s playing good or badly, he’s working. He’s going to the net, and that’s where the goals are.”
Mons. Schneider, who’s dashing head-long toward a berth in the All- Star Game and, perhaps, on one of the two official all-star teams at season’s end, was talking about Mighty Mouth, of course. Brian Skrudland, that is, whose first two goals of the season played an integral role in the Canadiens’ fairly easy 5-1 victory over the Boston Bruins.
“He’s not the best shot,” said Schneider.
“He’s a centreman, but he’s not the best playmaker.
“He’s not the best stickhandler …”
“He’s the hardest worker I’ve ever seen,” said Schneider.
Ah yes, Skrudland’s favorite four-letter word. Work was what most of the Canadiens were all about while they were giving up the game’s first goal to Dave Poulin early in the second, and then got goals from Vincent Damphousse, Skrudland, Sean Hill and Kevin Haller in the second, and Skrudland’s second late in the third.
“As far as I’m concerned, he’s one of the best leaders I’ve ever played with,” said Schneider who, more and more, is undertaking the challenge of leadership. “He gets everyone excited. He’s upbeat. He brings a certain element to this team that might be missing if he weren’t around.”
Did last night’s skirmish look and sound familiar? Remember the last time these teams met at the Forum?
They scuffled through a tight first period, whereupon the Bruins exploded for three in the first few minutes of the second. After that, help! The Canadiens scored five in the second and another in the third without a reply from Boston.
So here they are, going through yet another tight-collar first period. And yes, there are the Bruins getting the game’s first goal from Poulin fewer than two minutes into the second period. These things happen, but is Poulin supposed to be left alone in front of Patrick Roy?
No sweat. A little more than four minutes later, Damphousse batted a Kirk Muller rebound beyond Andy Moog, and for a little while, at least, life was worth living, after all. All the more so when Skrudland, playing in only his third game after missing 27 with a shredded knee, scored his first of the season from a hair outside Andy Moog’s crease.
The goal came a little more than three minutes after Damphousse had scored his 10th goal in his last eight games, and his fourth in his last two. It was, for Skrudland, what players like to call lifting a piano or a monkey and/or a gorilla off their backs. In other words, it’s been a long time between goals for the centreman.
Then, of course, there’s the matter of the power-play goals scored by the firm of Hill and Haller. This was Hill’s fourth game since returning from a season-long abdominal muscle injury. The table was set for him when Glen Featherstone was despatched for beating Gilbert Dionne like a drum in a brief one-sided fight late in the second period.
In truth, Dionne started it with a cross-check across Featherstone’s ample acreage – a tactic which escaped referee Andy van Hellemond’s attention. Featherstone, however, got the message. In a matter of seconds, he sent Dionne to the icy canvas, whereupon the Boston behemoth was waved out of the game by van Hellemond. Worse, he was provided with a major penalty to go along with the minors both players received.
So now it’s Hill beating Moog with a shot from the blue line, and Haller adding another power-play goal 23 seconds later. Bye, Bruins.
The easy thing would be to say that the major penalty to Featherstone tilted the game toward the Canadiens. The reality is that even though they relinquished the first goal, they were largely in control.
Clearly, home was a comfort for many of the Canadiens who returned form a road trip with only three points in four games. It could have been far worse, of course, when it’s considered that they had to rally from a 2-5 deficit with fewer than 10 minutes remaining against the Los Angeles Kings – with Damphousse scoring a pure hat- trick in seven minutes and nine seconds.
Teams build on these things, of course. The Canadiens surely did last night, because they appeared to raise their game a couple of levels after Poulin beat Patrick Roy only 1:36 into the second period.
Skrudland was the leader, as Schneider said. So here’s one more from the defenceman:
“Skrudland’s the type of guy who’s gonna talk it up in the room, and backs it up with his play on the ice. He’ll do anything for the team.”
Yeah, but does he like him?
(Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette)