A Look at the 1992-93 Montréal Canadiens
The Montréal Canadiens' 24th Stanley Cup was not only their most recent one, but also Canada's most recent championship
The Montréal Canadiens are, without question, the most storied franchise in the history of the National Hockey League. No team has won more Stanley Cups than the Canadiens, who have won 24 in their history. In fact, they were the most successful franchise in any of the main sports leagues in North America until 1999, when the New York Yankees won their 25th World Series, and have since added two more championships in 2000 and 2009. However, the Canadiens' road to #24 was a long one. Their 23rd came in 1986, and though they returned to the Stanley Cup Final in 1989, they were defeated in six games by the Calgary Flames. The Canadiens would spend next three seasons running into the same roadblock: the Boston Bruins in the second round, and not getting past them.
As for the 1992-93 campaign, the Canadiens finished in third place in the Adams Division with a 48-30-6 record (this was an 84-game season) and 102 points. Offensively, they were led by Vincent Damphousse, who had a team leading 97 points (39 G/58 A), while Kirk Muller was second with 94 points (37 G/57 A). Brian Bellows had 88 points, but led the team with 40 goals. In net, as always, was Patrick Roy, who went 31-25-5 and had a GAA of 3.20 with a pair of shutouts, while also racking up a SV% of .894. It was the second (and last) time in Roy's career that his season GAA surpassed 3.00. The only other time? 1985-86, which ended with Roy hoisting his first Cup...and a Conn Smythe.
The Canadiens' run began with a battle against the Quebec Nordiques in the Adams Division Semifinals; a series that saw Quebec win the first two games before the Canadiens took the next four. This would be the fifth and final time that the provincial rivals would face each other in the playoffs, as the Nordiques moved to Denver three seasons later and became the Colorado Avalanche. So the Canadiens were back in the Adams Division Final, and even better news for the team: they would not have to face the Boston Bruins again. This was because the first place Bruins were shockingly swept by the Buffalo Sabres, and as a result of this, the Canadiens had home-ice advantage in the second round. The Habs swept the Sabres, with three of their wins coming in overtime, giving them five OT wins already (they had defeated the Nordiques twice in OT in Round 1).
The Canadiens reached the Wales Conference Final for the first time since 1989, and they defeated the New York Islanders in five games to return to the Stanley Cup Final. The team added two more overtime wins, taking Game Two in double overtime and Game Three in only one OT period, giving them seven entering the Cup Final. The Canadiens would face the Los Angeles Kings in the Cup Final, with the Kings' run being quite historic, as they faced nothing but Canadian teams throughout the playoffs. Game One went to Los Angeles, but it would be all Habs the rest of the way, as they won the next four to capture the Stanley Cup. Games Two, Three, and Four were won in overtime, giving the Canadiens a whopping ten overtime wins in their championship run.
Patrick Roy captured the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the 1993 playoffs. His numbers: 16-4 record, 2.13 GAA, .929 SV%, and ten straight OT wins. It would be the last positive for Roy in his tenure with the Canadiens, as the following year actually saw the Habs ousted in Round 1 by, you guessed it, the Boston Bruins. The shortened 1994-95 season that followed featured an absolute shocker: two years removed from winning the Cup, the Canadiens missed the playoffs. For Roy, that season was his only one without a postseason, but even so, fans started to turn against their hallowed goaltender, with a belief that he didn't have it anymore.
And then came the evening of December 2, 1995. We all know this. Nine goals scored on Roy, who was left in to get smothered with shots by his coach (and former teammate) Mario Tremblay. It was the latest chapter of the bad blood between those two, and after Roy was finally pulled, he basically said that he was done as a member of the Canadiens. Roy was traded four days later to the Colorado Avalanche, and he would win his third Stanley Cup that same season. He added a fourth Cup in 2001, and also became the only three-time holder of the Conn Smythe Trophy, doing so eight years to the exact date after winning both prizes for the last time as a Habs goalie.
The Canadiens won their 24th Stanley Cup on June 9, 1993. That date is the last time that a Canadian franchise won the Stanley Cup. In the 28 seasons that have passed in 29 years, only six Cup Finals featured Canadian teams, and regarding the Habs, they returned to the Cup Final in 2021. The other years: 1994 (Canucks), 2004 (Flames), 2006 (Oilers), 2007 (Senators), and 2011 (Canucks again). Another interesting attribute about that Canadiens team: it was full of nothing but North Americans--players from Canada and the United States. This was an impressive run by the Canadiens, who started 0-2 in the playoffs and won 16 of their next 18. In addition, 10 of their 16 wins were in overtime, and playoff OT is quite hectic, so that adds to how legendary that team is.
The 1992-93 Montréal Canadiens fascinate me, and not only because they were the last Canadian team to win. It's because the 1992-93 season was the last to feature that classic divisional playoff format, as well as the division and conference names, as the NHL switched to geographical names on the following year. Though 29 years have passed without a 25th Cup for the Canadiens, they continue to remain the most prestigious and storied franchise in the 100+ year history of the National Hockey League.
About the author
Born on March 18, 1985. I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also love movies--especially comedy and horror--and among my favorite TV shows are The Simpsons and Family Guy
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!