Tuesday, June 9, 2009
The Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup on this day in 1993 by defeating the Los Angeles Kings by a 4-1 score and the same margin in games won in the series, 4 games to 1. The Kings were making their first, and to this date only, appearance in the finals, and were led by Wayne Gretzky.
The Canadiens started the season well, going 16-5-3 to open the season. Later in the season they would have another hot streak, going 17-4-1, but a slump in their final 18 games would see them drop from first to third in the division behind both the Boston Bruins and province rivals the Quebec Nordiques.
Vincent Damphousse, acquired from the Edmonton Oilers during the summer, would lead the team with 97 points, while Brian Bellows, also in his first season in Montreal, would register the most goals with 40. The defense featured Eric Desjardins, Mathieu Schneider and Patrice Brisebois and Patrick Roy (31 wins) and Andre Racicot (17 wins) split the goaltending duties.
The Canadiens had to open the playoffs in the hostile environment of Colisée de Québec, the home of the Nordiques, where they proceeded to lose the first two games of the series. The Canadiens would rebound strongly to win the next four games in a row (two in overtime), ending the Nordiques season. They would sweep the Buffalo Sabres in four (three of those in overtime) and eliminate the New York Islanders 4-1 (another two in overtime) before moving on to face Los Angeles in the finals.
The Kings would silence the home crowd at Montreal's Forum by a resounding 4-1 score. Montreal would hang on to win the next game in overtime to tie the series at 1. Games 3 and 4 in Los Angeles would also go into overtime, with the Canadiens winning both and setting an NHL record in the process with their 10th straight overtime victory - all in the same playoff season!
Game 5 would prove much easier as the Canadiens would take the series with an easy 4-1 win back at home to capture their 24th Stanley Cup and Roy would be named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Today's jersey is a 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens Patrick Roy jersey. Perhaps the most iconic jersey in all of hockey, it's red color with the bold blue stripe trimmed in white is recognized the world over, essentially unchanged since birth of the NHL in 1917. In fact, the red jersey with the blue stripe pre-dates the NHL, with a variation of the theme first being worn in 1912.
This jersey also features the rare French version of the Stanley Cup finals, the only such time the finals patch has been produced in French. (For the record, the Kings wore an English version on their jerseys.)
1992-93 was a very busy year for the seamstresses in Montreal, as the Canadiens would start the season wearing the 1993 NHL All-Star Game patch for the first half of the season. After the All-Star Game, which they hosted, they would join the rest of the league in wearing the Stanley Cup 100th Anniversary patch, also in an unusual French variation shared only with the Nordiques, and then don the French version of the Stanley Cup finals patch for their third different patch of the season, a feat I'm certain no other team has ever duplicated. Yes, several teams have worn three patches at the same time, but we're not aware of any team wearing three unique patches in the same season.
Roy would go onto play two and a half more seasons in Montreal before a tumultuous falling out with the Canadiens and a subsequent trade to the Colorado Avalanche, which never, ever would have happened had the Avalanche remained in Quebec as the Nordiques.
Track the Canadiens path through the playoffs through this very well done highlights package, followed by the last minute of the final game and awards ceremony following.
Dasherboard: The Stanley Cup will be in the building tonight as the Red Wings looks to close out the Penguins in Pittsburgh where the Penguins are 8-2 in this year's playoffs. Malkin and Crosby will be looking to put Game 5 behind them, as they racked up the penalty minutes while recording a minimum number of shots, with one each.
Can the return of Pavel Datsyuk be enough to overcome the Penguins home crowd? While proven to not be essential in this round, the Penguins would do their cause a lot of good by scoring first to put the specter of Game 5 behind them and giving their fans an opportunity to raise the roof.
Speaking of raising the roof, did you know that The Igloo was designed with a retractable roof? Since the Penguins are 1-0 in recent outdoor games, perhaps they should consider finding a way to pry it open one last time.
The game tonight is on NBC.