May 26, 2008

1993: Gretzky's Hollywood Championship Thwarted By Roy, McSorley's Illegal Stick

The year is 1993. A saint is born.

While his Stanley Cup victories in 1986 and 2001 may have produced better statistics, Patrick Roy's finest moment took place during the Montreal Canadiens' championship of 1993. Playing behind a team many expected to be bounced from the first round against the Quebec Nordiques, Roy's stellar goaltending led to an unprecedented 10 consecutive overtime wins.

After surviving the Nordiques and handily dusting away the Sabres and Islanders, Montreal ran into a daunting foe in the Stanley Cup final. Wayne Gretzky, possessed in bringing the Stanley Cup to Hollywood, led the LA Kings into their first Stanley Cup appearance.

Things did not look good for Montreal early in the series. The Kings already had taken game 1 in Montreal and led game 2 by a score of 2-1 with a couple of minutes left to play. That's when Montreal coach Jacques Demers called for a stick measurement on LA defenseman Marty McSorley. With McSorley in the penalty box and Roy on the bench for the extra attacker, Montreal defenseman Eric Desjardins scored the tying goal, and his second of the game. In overtime Desjardins completed the hat trick.

The illegal stick penalty proved to be the turning point of the series. Montreal went on to win the next three games.

Though dubbed a goon, McSorley was having a heck of a playoff, and would always be remembered for this blunder if it were not for his assault on Donald Brashear years later.

Roy was the indisputable MVP of the playoffs. This strange series will also always be remembered for Roy's cocky wink to Tomas Sandstrom, who took it upon himself to get into Roy's kitchen all series long. As always, Roy would have the last laugh.

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