Game 627 – Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 0

Game 627
Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 0
Saturday, January 23, 1993
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Félix Potvin admitted that sometime last night or today he likely would shake a fist and say to himself: “Geez! I shut out the Montréal Canadiens.”

Mostly, though, the Maple Leafs rookie goalie played it low key after recording his first NHL shutout, a 4-0 verdict over Montréal Canadiens, no soft touch because they’re in sight of the overall NHL points lead.

Not that Potvin faced a deluge of tough chances in the 29 shots Canadiens took but enough of them were difficult to make the goose-egg Grade A large. Since rejoining the Leafs from the minors when main man Grant Fuhr was injured, Potvin has been the spine in a strong team defensive effort in yielding two goals in three games.

This was not a case of a Québecois lad blanking the team he idolized all his life. He and his family were fans of the Nordiques even though the Potvins lived in a Montréal suburb.

But like all young French Canadian goalies in a fine crop developed in the late ’80s, Potvin had Patrick Roy, the brilliant Canadien, as a role model.

“Patrick was so good we had to watch him and maybe even want to play like him a little,” Potvin said. “Even in the warmup for this game, I was watching him a little, like a kid.”

“It was good to win and good to beat a good team. But maybe the next time, they will beat us because that’s how things are in hockey.”

Potvin feels that he returned to a Leafs team that’s playing the same way as it did when it opened the season with a rush and he played superbly in the net during an injury absence for Fuhr.

“Maybe the confidence is even a little better than it was then,” Potvin said. “Everyone is working hard and doing the job.”

While the game lacked the high emotion of the teams’ first meeting earlier this month in Montréal when the Leafs won 5-4 on coach Pat Burns’ return to the town where he had coached for four years, the Gardens had a noise level seldom reached in many years.

“It’s a good feeling, not the high emotion of what happened in Montréal but very important because it meant a lot to our fans,” Burns said. “I told the players before the game that it would be good if we gave the fans something big. They obviously liked it because the noise level was the highest I’ve ever heard here.

“It was great for Felix to get that first shutout against the Canadiens. He did what he had to do. Our guys played a very solid game in front of him, keeping the Canadiens wide and not funnelling to the middle in our zone. I think the secret of coaching is to have guys who let themselves be coached and that’s what our players are doing. They’re listening to what the coaching staff tells them, then going out and doing it.”

Important in the win was the fact that it was accomplished and Doug Gilmour was not the club’s best player or even top centre. Gilmour did the job well, of course but this time, Peter Zezel, working on a defensive line with Mark Osborne and Bill Berg was top home side performer. He scored a goal and made a big play for one by Osborne.

Mike Krushelnyski and Rob Pearson had the other goals.

The Canadiens offered no excuses.

“Let’s not shortchange the Leafs because Cliff Fletcher (Leaf boss) has put together a good hockey team,” said coach Jacques Demers. “They put us in a hole, 4-0, and we had to try to play catchup hockey on the road.”

“They were sharp tonight and Felix (Potvin) played very well,” Roy said. “He made some big saves but he saw every shot.”

Story originally published in The Toronto Star, January 24, 1993

1st Period
MTL PEN – 00:58 – Ewan, fighting major
TOR PEN – 00:58 – Baumgartner, fighting major
MTL PEN – 01:13 – Daigneault, hooking
TOR PEN – 02:08 – Cullen, tripping
MTL PEN – 05:12 – Dufrense, hooking
TOR GOAL – 07:25 – Krushelnyski (Anderson, Borschevsky)
TOR PEN – 08:30 – Zezel, high sticking
MTL PEN – 08:37 – Damphousse, high sticking
MTL PEN – 11:04 – Roberge, fighting major
TOR PEN – 11:04 – McGill, fighting major
TOR PEN – 13:19 – Macoun, interference
MTL PEN – 15:35 – Desjardins, tripping
TOR PP GOAL – 16:25 – Pearson (Gill, Gilmour)
TOR GOAL – 16:34 – Zezel (Macoun)
MTL PEN – 18:16 – Desjardins, elbowing

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 08:36 – Osborne (Zezel)

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 08:44 – Odelein, fighting major
TOR PEN – 08:44 – Baumgartner, fighting major
MTL PEN – 12:54 – Roberge, unsportsmanlike conduct
TOR PEN – 12:54 – Foligno, unsportsmanlike conduct
MTL PEN – 15:03 – Roberge, roughing
MTL PEN – 19:48 – Roberge, roughing
TOR PEN – 19:48 – Foligno, roughing

TOR – Potvin (W + SO, 29-29)
MTL – Roy (L, 25-29)

TOR – 14+7+8 = 29
MTL – 7+13+9 = 29

TORGoaltenders: Félix Potvin. Defence: Dave Ellett, Todd Gill, Sylvain Lefebvre, Jamie Macoun, Bob McGill, Dmitri Mironov, Bob Rouse (A). Forwards: Glenn Anderson, Ken Baumgartner, Bill Berg, Nikolai Borschevsky, John Cullen, Mike Foligno, Doug Gilmour (A), Mike Krushelnyski, Mark Osborne, Rob Pearson, Peter Zezel.
MTLGoaltenders: Patrick Roy. Defence: Patrice Brisebois, J.J. Daigneault, Éric Desjardins, Donald Dufresne, Kevin Haller, Lyle Odelein, Mathieu Schneider. Forwards: Brian Bellows, Guy Carbonneau (C), Vincent Damphousse, Gilbert Dionne, Todd Ewen, Mike Keane, Stéphan Lebeau, Kirk Muller (A), Mario Roberge, Ed Ronan, Brian Skrudland.

TOR – 23-19-7 (.541)
MTL – 29-17-5 (.618)


Félix Potvin (TOR)
⭐⭐ Mark Osborne (TOR)
⭐⭐⭐ Peter Zezel (TOR)