Game 628 – Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 2

Game 628
Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 2
Saturday, October 30, 1993
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, QC

The Maple Leafs came up with a unique Halloween costume idea this year.

They arrived at the Forum for the season’s premiere hockey soirée disguised as an undefeated team.

It didn’t fool the Canadiens. And when the masks came off, Toronto left the ice, after a thorough 5-2 drubbing, looking like a very ordinary club.

Yes, the streak – Toronto’s record-breaking and utterly spellbinding 10-game winning skein to open the season – is over.

As you’d expect, in the Leaf dressing room afterward, there was disappointment. Not so much at seeing the record run end, but more in how poorly they played in letting a big game slip away.

The Leafs looked like a ghost of the team that electrified Toronto fans through the first month of the season.

“That was a good shot of reality,” said Todd Gill, part of a defensive corps that clearly struggled through this one.

“We had a great start, let’s not kid ourselves, but we went out tonight and didn’t play the type of game we have to to be successful. We’re disappointed at the way it happened. We lost because we were outplayed.”

While it’s no embarrassment to lose to the defending Stanley Cup champs, especially in what was an emotionally supercharged Montréal Forum, the letdown came in how completely the Leafs crashed.

Toronto’s top line of Doug Gilmour, Dave Andreychuk – who scored a power-play goal – and Nikolai Borschevsky wasn’t a factor at even strength.

It was perhaps telling that the Leafs’ best troika was composed of Ken Baumgartner, Kent Manderville and Mike Foligno. Captain Wendel Clark showed flashes of spirit, but when he finally jammed in a rebound in the final minute, it was too late.

The usually reliable Toronto defence repeatedly coughed the puck up at their own blue line and goaltender Félix Potvin, forced to fend for himself most of the night, looked very human.

When it was over, the Leafs would have relished the chance to set the clock back three hours and play this one again.

“Our big guns didn’t do it, theirs did,” said coach Pat Burns, who must now make sure the defeat doesn’t start a spiral downward. “I think from the drop of the puck, we just weren’t there. We just didn’t compete for pucks the way we usually compete for pucks.”

For Montréal, undefeated in six, the biggest gun was former Leaf Vincent Damphousse, who popped in three goals, all on Potvin rebounds. John LeClair contributed his first goal of the season, but the back-breaker was a goal from defenceman Mathieu Schneider that made it 2-1 for the Habs early in the second.

Toronto had led 1-0 after the first 20 minutes. On the play, Toronto defender Jamie Macoun failed to clear the puck out of the Leaf zone and Schneider stopped it, took a few strides to the top of the slot and fired an uncontested slapshot over Potvin.

“Someone had their head up their butt on that one,” Burns said. “You can’t let a guy walk in, put it on a tee and bang it in. The Good Lord would have had trouble stopping that one.”

Potvin, making his debut in his hometown, didn’t complain about a lack of support afterward.

“In the second period (when the Habs scored three times), I wanted to make the big save, but I didn’t,” said the netminder, who was overshadowed by a rock-solid performance in the Montréal goal by Patrick Roy. “We didn’t play our best but we didn’t expect to win all 84 games. The important thing is to bounce back and not develop any bad habits.”

Burns, who coached in Montréal for four years before jumping to the Leafs, said he didn’t attach any significance to the team ending its winning streak here. He said it was, in some ways, a relief to see the magical run end.

“You hate to lose but in some ways it is,” he said. “We played a tough game in Chicago (Thursday). That was more important to get the monkey off our backs there than this one. We only play these guys twice, but we’ll see them again in February (in Toronto) and we’ll see what happens.”

Story originally published in The Toronto Star, October 31, 1993


BOXSCORE
1st Period
MTL PEN – 01:58 – Brisebois, holding
TOR PP GOAL – 03:12 – Andreychuk (Ellett, Gill)
MTL PEN – 18:31 – Odelein, holding

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 01:15 – Damphousse (Popovic, Lebeau)
MTL GOAL – 04:18 – Schneider (Brunet, Lebeau)
MTL GOAL – 16:40 – Damphousse (Bellows)
MTL PEN – 17:36 – LeClair, delay of game

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 10:18 – LeClair (Dionne, DiPietro)
TOR PEN – 10:35 – Cullen, roughing
TOR PEN – 11:49 – Rouse, holding
MTL PP GOAL – 12:23 – Damphousse (Popovic, Schneider)
TOR GOAL – 19:04 – Clark (Borchevsky, Cullen)

GOALTENDERS
MTL – Roy (W, 29-31)
TOR – Potvin (L, 33-38)

SHOTS ON GOAL
MTL – 12+13+13 = 38
TOR – 8+12+11 = 31

ROSTERS
MTLGoaltenders: Patrick Roy. Defence: Patrice Brisebois, J.J. Daigneault, Éric Desjardins, Lyle Odelein, Peter Popovic, Mathieu Schneider. Forwards: Brian Bellows, Benoît Brunet, Guy Carbonneau (C), Vincent Damphousse, Gilbert Dionne, Paul DiPietro, Mike Keane, Stéphan Lebeau, John LeClair, Gary Leeman, Mario Roberge, Ron Wilson.
TORGoaltenders: Félix Potvin. Defence: Dave Ellett, Todd Gill, Sylvain Lefebvre, Jamie Macoun, Dmitri Mironov, Bob Rouse. Forwards: Glenn Anderson, Dave Andreychuk, Ken Baumgartner, Bill Berg, Nikolai Borschevsky, Wendel Clark (C), John Cullen, Mike Foligno, Doug Gilmour, Mike Krushelnyski, Kent Manderville, Mark Osborne.

ATTENDANCE
17,959

THREE STARS
Vincent Damphousse (MTL)
⭐⭐ Guy Carbonneau (MTL)
⭐⭐⭐ Patrick Roy (MTL)