Game 624 – Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1

Game 624
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1
Monday, December 9, 1991
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The month of May is usually the time when hockey’s money goalies display their stuff, in the battle for the Stanley Cup.

But with this season’s rapid escalation in National Hockey League salaries, the big money can be on the line at any time. Last night, the two richest guardians in NHL history met, did battle, and had nothing but praise for one another after the Montréal Canadiens had beaten the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 at Maple Leaf Gardens.

For the record, Patrick Roy was a standout in playing his best game of the season for the front-running Habs, who were outshot 34-20.

Roy, 26, makes a comfortable $1.25-million a season for standing armoured in defence of the red line. Grant Fuhr, in his prime one of the best goalies the game has ever seen, last week was awarded a yearly contract worth $1.6-million a season.

Roy has no jealousy of the man he can beat everywhere but at the pay wicket.

“This was no showdown, at least not for me,” Roy said. “I’m really happy for Grant and his contract. He really deserved it and he’s done a lot for goaltenders.

“I’m not jealous. My time will come. I’m just happy with what I got from my team.”

Roy is part of a highly successful organization, which can find leadership in every corner of the dressing room. That’s a luxury that Fuhr doesn’t have with the struggling Leafs.

“I could see looking in Patrick’s eyes when he looked around the room after the first period. It’s like he was saying ‘Tonight, it’s my turn,’ ” said Habs’ coach Pat Burns.

In fact, the Canadiens had their hands full with the frustrating checking of the Leafs for most of the game. For the first half of the match, Montréal managed only eight shots against Toronto, and most of the game was played in the Montréal end.

“For the first 40 minutes, it was horrendous. We were absolutely guessing (at clearing the zone),” Burns said. “If Patrick’s not in there, we don’t leave with two points. I told him after the first period when he made 13 saves he was going to have to do that all night.”

For Roy’s part, “all I wanted to do was give a good game for my teammates, and I think it was my best of the year.

“My concentration was good, the butterflies were fine, I don’t think I saw too many rebounds.

“This is the first game I got that many shots. When I only get 20 shots, it’s been tough to stay in the games.”

That was Fuhr’s experience last night. While it might have been a welcome change from the nights when he has been shelled with 40 and 50 drives, “we played well, and well wasn’t good enough,” Fuhr said.

“It’s tough to wait for 10 minutes without a shot, then they come down and have a good scoring chance. They capitalized on their chances – and they got some good bounces, like (Stéphan) Lebeau knocking one in out of the air.

“But it was one of our best team efforts, and there’s no sense being down about it.”

In truth, the Leafs were the equal of the best team in hockey most of the night, but were unable to penetrate the defences of the best money goalie – if not the highest paid – in the game.

“We’re just out there to play and have some fun,” Fuhr said of the head-to-head play between the millionaire netminders. “The goalies don’t shoot on each other.”

He said there was no sense of trying to outperform one another because of the size of their respective contracts or reputations. “If you start looking down the schedule for who’s good and gear for those games, you’ll lose all the ones in between.”

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 10, 1991

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 00:36 – Gilchrist (Roy, Svoboda)
TOR PEN – 10:14 – Marois, tripping
MTL PEN – 10:37 – Turgeon, interference
MTL PEN – 11:25 – Gilchrist, roughing double minor
TOR PEN – 11:25 – Bradley, roughing

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 02:26 – Corson, holding
TOR GOAL – 05:59 – Cimetta (Petit)
MTL PEN – 06:52 – Lefebvre, interference
TOR PEN – 10:22 – Krushelnyski, roughing
MTL PEN – 10:22 – Daigneault, holding

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 01:04 – Bradley, holding
MTL GOAL – 05:33 – Lebeau (Muller, Corson)
MTL PEN – 11:17 – Muller, roughing
TOR PEN – 11:17 – Marois, roughing
MTL PEN – 12:05 – Gilchrist, tripping
MTL GOAL – 14:54 – McPhee (Savard, Carbonneau)
MTL PEN – 18:56 – Keane, roughing
TOR PEN – 18:56 – Krushelnyski, roughing
MTL EN GOAL – 19:37 – Corson (Lefebvre)

MTL – Roy (W, 33-34)
TOR – Fuhr (L, 16-19)

MTL – 5+9+6 = 20
TOR – 13+13+8 = 34

MTLGoaltenders: Patrick Roy. Defence: J.J. Daigneault, Donald Dufresne, Sylvain Lefebvre, Lyle Odelein, Mathieu Schneider, Petr Svoboda. Forwards: Guy Carbonneau (C), Shayne Corson, Paul DiPietro, Todd Ewen, Brent Gilchrist, Mike Keane, Stéphan Lebeau, John LeClair, Mike McPhee (A), Kirk Muller, Denis Savard, Sylvain Turgeon.
TORGoaltenders: Grant Fuhr. Defence: Dave Ellett, Todd Gill (A), Alexander Godynyuk, Michel Petit, Bob Rouse (A), Darryl Shannon. Forwards: Glenn Anderson, Craig Berube, Brian Bradley, Mike Bullard, Rob Cimetta, Lucien DeBlois, Mike Foligno, Dave Hannan, Mike Krushelnyski, Claude Loiselle, Daniel Marois, Peter Zezel.

MTL – 20-11-2 (.636)
TOR – 9-17-4 (.367)


Patrick Roy (MTL)
⭐⭐ Brent Gilchrist (MTL)
⭐⭐⭐ Mike Foligno (TOR)