100 Most Memorable Games
With the Canadiens celebrating the 100th anniversary on December 4th, I wanted to avoid your typical lists and provide a personal look at 100 games that made an indelible mark on me. These games are not the best games ever played, they are ones that impacted me personally. Whether it provided a memorable moment, a game I personally attended or a bonding experience with my father and son, the following is a 30 year look at my relationship with the Montreal Canadiens.
When viewing the list, take into account that up until the late 1990s, my exposure was limited to Saturday night Hockey Night In Canada/Soiree Du Hockey broadcasts and the playoffs. It wasn't until the advent of digital cable that I found access to the Canadiens games nightly. The less exposure caused stronger memories, so this list is heavy on games between 1985-1995, it didn't hurt that the Canadiens were a perennial Stanley Cup contender and won two Cups during that ten-year span.
Looking at this list, I feel no bother when opposing fanbases try to mock the success of my team. There are not many fanbases who have this wide array of fantastic memories to rely upon when their franchise takes a downturn.
Thanks to youtube, ESPN Classic and projects like the Hockey Summary project, I have been able to piece together my memories to not only confirm what I remembered, but flush out what actually happened in some of my earlier recollections. This list may not be as dynamic as somebody ten to twenty years older than me, but for the Roy generation it will likley hit the sweet spot. (If you are interested in viewing the boxscores, click on the dates highlighted in red.)
Happy 100th Birthday to the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge.
1. June 3, 1993 - LA Kings 2 @ Montreal Canadiens 3 (OT)
My generations "too many men on the ice game". The fact that this game was left off the greatest games DVD is a travesty and is proof that fans should never vote on anything.
This was the defining moment of the 1993 Championship run and had plenty of similarities to the famous 1979 game against the Bruins. The Canadiens were in a must win game, if they lost and traveled to Los Angeles trailing 2-0, their season was essentially over. A victory was essential and the sense of impending doom was prevalent in the Forum with two minutes to go. Then a simple mistake by McSorley opened the door for a miracle comeback. With the power play struggling, Jacques Demers pulled Roy and created a 6 on 4. A John Leclair screen and an Eric Desjardins one-timer later and the ghosts had tilted another series on it's head. In less than three minutes of game-time (and about 25 minutes of real-time) I had experienced the greatest emotional swing I have ever had in a hockey game. When Desjardins completed the hat-trick in OT, the tide had turned and the Kings had taken their skate off the Canadiens throat and would never lead again in the series. Another Bob Cole beauty that I will never forget "Dessss-jaaaaar-den...and the Canadiens win in overtime, his third goal of the game, and the series is a braaaand new one".
As much as Bob Cole has slipped into dementia, nobody understands how to portray the emotion of a game or anticipate things with the inflection of his voice like Cole. It seems that 90% of my greatest hockey memories are tied to his voice
2. May 5, 1986 - Montreal Canadiens 4 @ NY Rangers 3 (OT)
As a child I adopted my father's favourite player, Guy Lafleur, but I never had a player to call my own. I fell in love with Denis Herron, then Rick Wamsley, Richard Sevigny, Steve Penney and all of them were average goaltenders propped up by a system. All of them ultimately disappointed me in the playoffs. On May 5, 1986, I finally found my generations superstar. I remember being is awe as I watched it live. For 10-12 minutes the Rangers attack was relentless, the ice seem tilted, yet Roy kept rising to the moment with the calm of a veteran. Then one mistake by the Rangers and it was over, courtesy of a Claude Lemieux breakaway. Add in the constant twitching of the 20 year old and the Madison Square Garden crowd mocking him with chants of "Roooo-Ahhhh", this game left such an indelible mark that in the early 90's I ordered the VHS tape from the back of the Hockey News so I could see it again. Re-watching the performance was impressive, but it could never recapture the tension of the moment and joy of watching the ascension of the last Canadiens superstar.
3. April 29, 1986 - Hartford Whalers 1 @ Montreal Canadiens 2 (OT)
Two memories stand out for me. 1. When Mike McPhee broke free on a breakaway my sister jumped up to cheer and stepped on our ancient Jerald T.V. convertor, changing the channel, by the time I got the CBC back, McPhee was celebrating in the corner making her transgression acceptable. 2. My sister crumbling under the tension of the OT and refusing to watch, only to have her storm down the stairs when I celebrated Lemieux’s roof job on Liut. One night later as Steve Smith banked a puck off Grant Fuhr, I came to the realization that the Canadiens were going to win the Stanley Cup.
4. June 9, 1993 - LA Kings 1 @ Montreal Canadiens 4
Any Stanley Cup Championship is unforgettable, but when merged with your 20th birthday it takes on a life of it's own. This game doesn't really hold any burning memories outside of the post game celebration, but I will always remember it as the best present I ever received. (Interesting note on this specific date. It seemed to be in the stars that Patrick Roy would be my favourite player. While reading his biography I realized that he was drafted on June 9, 1984. He was married on June 9, 1990. He won his second Cup on June 9, 1993 and he won his 4th Cup on June 9, 2001.)
5. September, 1979 - Montreal Canadiens 6 @ Toronto Maple Leafs 7
You always remember your first game. My first game was an exhibition game at Maple Leaf Gardens. The Canadiens started Bunny Laracque and he was so bad that my 6 year old brain wrote him off in favour of Denis Herron. I can still remember him lying on his back as the puck trickled under him for one of the Leafs 7 goals.
6. October 4, 2008 - Minnesota Wild 3 @ Montreal Canadiens 0
My sons first NHL game. A pre-season game against the Wild. Thanks to Jacques Lemaire, the only chance he got to celebrate was a Steve Begin fight as time expired. A classic it was not, but a moment I had been looking forward to since the day he was born. The highlight of the weekend was the game, but it was closely followed by my son asking why he was not allowed in the super hero place.
7. May 18, 1986 - Montreal Canadiens 3 @ Calgary Flames 2 (OT)
I will never forget John Davidson on the CBC forewarning that most of the overtimes in the 1986 Playoffs had ended early, so don't be surprised if this one does too. 9 seconds later it was over, Don Wittman was yelling scores and Skrudland and McPhee were hugging each other on the ice in the corner. One of my first "Holy Shit" moments as a Canadiens fan.
8. May 24, 1986 - Montreal Canadiens 4 @ Calgary Flames 3
My first championship experience of any team I supported. I still remember the Canadiens being home and cooled up 4-1 with 4 minutes to go and almost experiencing a heart attack as the Flames cut the lead to 4-3. With 15 seconds to go Roy made a miraculous stop to avoid a monster collapse (even though the play should have been blown dead on a cross check by Macoun on Chelios). I had the cover of the Toronto Sun with Patrick Roy holding the Cup and the title "Les Glorieux" on my wall for years.
9. April 27, 1980 - Minnesota Northstars 3 @ Montreal Canadiens 2
Unfortunately not all these memories are happy ones. As a 6 year old, all I remember from the night the Canadiens dynasty ended was Denis Herron’s brutal giveaway and asking my Dad who won in the morning. My first Canadiens heartbreak, one I will never forget
10/11. June 5 & June 7, 1993 - Montreal Canadiens 4/3 @ LA Kings 3/2 (OT)
"Here's a chance for Leclaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaair, Scooooores". The 1993 Stanley Cup championship was defined by Roy's goaltending, Carbonneau shutting down Gretzky, Desjardin's hat-trick and Leclair's OT goals. All four were gone within two and a half seasons. One wonders why there have been no parades down St. Catherines in 16 years.
12. November 22, 2008 - Boston Bruins 3 @ Montreal Canadiens 2 (OT)
Patrick Roy's retirement ceremony. Fortunately for me, I was in town for the Grey Cup and was able to attend the game as #33 was raised to the rafters. A disappointing ending to the game, but the return of the prodigal son to the familly.
13. May 19, 1989 - Calgary Flames 3 @ Montreal Canadiens 4 (OT)
Joey Mullen misses an empty net clincher and the Habs make him pay as a Naslund knuckler beats Vernon in the final minute of play. I will never forget Bob Cole’s call of "Scores, Scores, Naslund!!.........Theeeeey, do not quit" This set up Ryan Walter’s winner in double OT. At this point I thought the Flames would not recover, I was slightly wrong
14. November 19, 1988 - Chicago Blackhawks 3 @ Montreal Canadiens 5
My first trip to the Montreal Forum. The highlights include a youth line of Corson, Gilchrist and Courtnall running wild on the Blackhawks and Craig Ludwig knocking Trent Yawney senseless with an elbow, resulting in a 5 game suspension. This was followed by countless hours of playing Blades of Steel at an arcade on St. Catherines and my mother trying to avert my eyes from all the posters outside the gentleman's establishments.
15. February 4, 1989 - NY Rangers 5 @ Montreal Canadiens 7
Guy Lafleur's return to the Forum. I remember going into the game hoping that Lafleur's comeback would result in a hat trick for him and the Canadiens winning the game. Close, Lafleur electrified the crowd with a pair of goals, leading to the loudest ovation in Forum history for an opposing goal. Shayne Corson scored a hat-trick as the Habs stormed back from a 5-2 deficit to prevail 7-5. The perfect evening was slightly tarnished the bufoon who awarded Corson the first star of the game over the returning hero
16. April 16, 1985 - Boston Bruins 0 @ Montreal Canadiens 1
Mats Naslund beats Doug Keans with a minute to go in regulation of Game 5 to eliminate the Bruins 3 games to 2. Technically it wasn't an overtime game, but in reality, it was. The schoolyard was much easier to navigate after a Canadiens victory.
17. May 2, 1985 - Quebec Nordiques 3 @ Montreal Canadiens 2 (OT)
Unfortunately the jubilation of round one was quickly forgotten after Peter Stastny dug the dagger in deep with his Game 7 OT winner. All I remember was the feeling of denial as I hoped the ref would call it back as the puck trickled over the goal line in slow motion.
18. May 1, 1992 - Hartford Whalers 2 @ Montreal Canadiens 3 (OT)
Mr. OT, Russ Courtnall strikes again. The Habs jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but couldn’t hold on as the Mighty Whale stormed back to force OT. In overtime, Roy stopped a clear cut breakaway from Yvan Corriveau, leading to Courtnall beating Frank Pietrangelo on a softie. It just delayed the inevitable as the Habs were destroyed in 4 games by the Bruins, marking the end of the Pat Burns era
19. April 20, 1984 - Quebec Nordiques 3 @ Montreal Canadiens 5
The Good Friday Brawl. All I initially remembered from this game was Sleigher’s cheap shot on Jean Hamel, Richard Sevigny fighting and John Chabot's goal. Thanks to ESPN Classic, I have been able to relive the Canadiens miraculous comeback in the third, as they roared back from a 2-0 deficit with 5 straight goals as the Forum went berserk.
20. March 28, 2008 - Montreal Canadiens 4 @ Buffalo Sabres 3 (OT)
I made my yearly trip to Buffalo to watch the Habs and heckled the very sensitive Sabres fans about everything from Brett Hull's skate, Thurman Thomas' helmet, 0 for 4 and wide right. With the Canadiens trailing 3-1 with two minutes to go in the third, I was getting hammered by the Sabre fanbase. 10 minutes later following a pair of Plekanec goals and a Chris Higgins OT winner, I and 5,000 other Canadiens fans serenaded the Buffalo fanbase with the Olé chant. Good times!
21. April 26, 1984 - NY Islanders 2 @ Montreal Canadiens 4
Growing up in Toronto, I was the lone wolf, the only Habs fan in Grade 5. I was surrounded by Leaf and Islanders fans (try finding an Islanders fan in Toronto now). When Steve Penney helped lead the Habs to a 2-0 lead in the Conference Finals over the 4-time Stanley Cup champions, it was my first taste of Canadiens success and life in the school yard was very enjoyable for about a week, until Billy Smith, Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier denied me my parade for another two seasons.
22. December 7, 1991 - Calgary Flames 1 @ Montreal Canadiens 5
My father's one and only trip to the Forum with me saw the Canadiens totally dominate the Flames.
23. May 14, 1987 - Philadelphia Flyers 4 @ Montreal Canadiens 3
It wasn't often when you turn on Hockey Night in Canada at 7pm and are not greeted with the iconic theme song, but on May 14, 1987 as 7pm hit, the images cut straight to a brawl on the Forum ice. The Flyers coming off a 5-2 thrashing in Game 5 wanted nothing to do with Corson and Lemieux's ritual of putting a puck into the empty net after the warmup. Ed Hospodar and Chico Resch waited for them to attempt it, when Corson did it anyways, Hospodar jumped Lemieux. As Dave Brown, Chris Nilan and John Kordic heard what was going on, they joined the fray and the fighting escalated. The most interesting subplot was the absence of Ron Hextall from the action.
24. April 26, 1993 - Montreal Canadiens 5 @ Quebec Nordiques 4 (OT)
The sight of Andre "Red Light" Racicot in the Canadiens goal was enough to give me a heart attack, but when Roy returned from injury for the 3rd period, hope was restored. A see-saw game that saw numerous lead changes and momentum swings was not finalized until Ron Hextall pulled a Ron Hextall, Muller slid it through a charging Hextall's pads for a 3-2 series lead.
25. April 19, 2004 - Montreal Canadiens 2 @ Boston Bruins 0
0-0 mid way through the 3rd and Richard Zednik extracts revenge for the Kyle McLaren hit scoring the winning goal over "rookie of the year" Andrew Raycroft as well as the empty net clincher knocking off the Bruins in Game 7. The win marked the first time in their history that the Canadiens won when trailing a series 3-1.
26. April 9, 2002 - Ottawa Senators 3 @ Montreal Canadiens 4
It's still enough to give you goosebumps over seven years later.
27. December 2, 1995 - Detroit Red Wings 11 @ Montreal Canadiens
The three stooges set the franchise back ten years.
28. March 10, 1990 - Detroit Red Wings 3 @ Montreal Candiens 3
Mike McPhee scored with under a minute to go to gain a tie. This game is memorable as I got to meet Steve Yzerman outside of the Forum. I almost met Mats Naslund as well before he made a swift getaway.
29. January 12, 1985 - Buffalo Sabres 2 @ Montreal Canadiens 3
The game does not hold many memories for me, but the pre-game ceremonies were unforgettable. It was an opportunity to see all the legends I had heard and read about in uniform, as well as see Aurele Joliet steal the show as he enjoyed every second of his last moments in the limelight.
30. February 16, 1985 - Buffalo Sabres 4 @ Montreal Canadiens 3
I will never forget the ovation for Guy and the hideous painter caps that were handed out to everybody in attendance.
31. April 11, 1981 - Montreal Canadiens 2 @ Edmonton Oilers 6
Andy f@#king Moog. The torch had been passed as an exhausted Lafleur was helpless against an emerging Oilers powerhouse and an emerging Hab addict was devastated for the second year in a row.
32. April 13, 1982 - Quebec Nordiques 3 @ Montreal Canadiens 2 (OT)
Surprisingly I have vivid memories of this game. From Napier being called offside on a borderline call, to Larry Robinson lifting the net and sliding it under from behind the net. Trailing 2-0 the Habs beat Dan Bouchard for two goals in the final 10 minutes only to devastate me again when Dale Hunter’s wraparound beat a scrambling Rick Wamsley.
33. May 9, 2002 - Carolina Hurricanes 4 @ Montreal Canadiens 3 (OT)/
Biggest disappointment I have ever felt watching a Habs game. The Canadiens blew a 3-0 lead with 16 minutes to go as the Canes tied it in the last minute of regulation. Instead of a 3-1 lead and on the verge of a matchup in the Conference Finals with the Leafs, the Habs lost in OT and are blown out 13-3 in Games 6 and 7. The closest they have come to the Stanley Cup in 16 years.
34. April 27, 1991 – Boston Bruins 2 @ Montreal Canadiens 3 (OT)
Facing elimination, Stephane Richer dances along the boards, cuts to the front of the net as Shayne Corson pounces on the rebound and slides it home staving off elimination. The vision of Corson hugging Richer’s legs while sitting on the ice is burned in my brain.
35. April 18, 1988 – Boston Bruins 2 @ Montreal Canadiens 5
The Michel Thelven game. With the Habs in control of Game 1 and their yearly mastery of the Bruins a Michel Thelven two hander broke the wrist of 50 goal scorer Stephane Richer. After scoring 5 goals in Game 1, the Canadiens struggled to score 5 in the next 4 games. The Thelven slash was even more infuriating as I had to endure Reggie Lemelin’s numerous fist pumps throughout the series.
36. November 17 2001 – Florida Panthers 0 @ Montreal Canadiens 1 (OT)
On my Dad’s 50th birthday I took him to the Bell Center for the first time. We were treated to a goaltenders duel as Luongo showed a glimpse of the future with a 44 save masterpiece, including an outright robbery of Joe Juneau right in front of our seats. Luongo's only mistake came on a Brisebois slapper in overtime, handing the Canadiens a 1-0 victory.
37. April 23 1994 – Boston Bruins 2 @ Montreal Canadiens 5
After missing Game 3 with an appendicitis, Roy returned for Game 4 and stopped 39 of 41 shots. Habs were outshot 41-15, but Roy's heroics kept the series alive and tied 2-2 heading back to Boston.
38. March 11 1996 – Dallas 1 @ Montreal 4
The last game at the Forum was highlighted by the pre-game ceremonies with Rocket Richard stealing the show as he was honoured with a 6 minute standing ovation. The old barn closed with a 4-1 victory and Andrei Kovalenko registering the final goal, replaced by the abomination knows as the Pepsi Forum
39. May 11, 1989 – Montreal Canadiens 4 @ Philadelphia Flyers 2
Game 6 is highlighted by Hextall losing his shit and attacking Chris Chelios. Outside of watching a lunatic on skates, the highlight was Bobby Smith leaving the ice giving the we’re number one finger to the Flyers faithful.
40. April 18, 1993 – Montreal Canadiens 2 @ Quebec Nordiques 3 (OT)
The angriest I have ever been after a playoff loss. I was watching this game at my father’s house, after the Habs blew a 2-0 lead in the final 80 seconds I was furious. When Scott Young scored the winner in OT, I was so irate that I walked out of the house without uttering a word or offering a goodbye.
41. May 1, 1984 – Montreal Canadiens 1 @ NY Islanders 3
After being blow out in Game 3, the Habs were tied 1-1 with the Islanders when Naslund was awarded a penalty shot. Naslund at the end of a shift broke in on Smith and tried to go 5-hole. Smith made the stop and Bossy scored a minute later and the Dream of 1984 was in all reality, dead. Here is the Newspaper report.
42. December 7, 1996 – Chicago Blackhawks 2 @ Montreal Canadiens 3
Koivu’s first knee injury. Koivu at 21 years old was leading the league with 38 points through 30 games when he suffered a knee injury that he never recovered from. When he returned he had lost his explosiveness and was never the dominant offensive player he could have been.
43. April 24, 2008 - Philadelphia Flyers 3 @ Montreal Canadiens 4 (OT)
I watched this game at the ACC while attending a Raptors playoff game. During the second quarter I wandered from my seat and sat in front of a television with an usher who was a closet habs fan. When Kovalev scored I left the game and went to find a bar to watch the OT. I walked into the bar just as the OT started and Kostopolous ended the game before the waitress brought my beer. I didn't realize at the time that it was the last playoff games the Habs would win in the next two seasons.
44. April 22, 1993 – Quebec Nordiques 1 @ Montreal Canadiens 2 (OT)
With the 1993 season hanging by a thread, I had to endure OT, as well as a goal called back in OT because of a Lebeau high stick, then another video review as the Nords kicked one into their own goal to end the game as Hextall went wild.
45. February 19, 2008 - NY Rangers 5 @ Montreal Canadiens 6 (OT)
One of those nights when you are rewarded for not changing the channel. Down 5-2 in the third, a victory seemed like a longshot. A powerplay goal followed by a fluke goal by Michael Ryder and all of a sudden a miracle felt probable. I will never forget the look on Jagr's face after Huet stopped him to preserve the victory.The image of Kovalev with his legs in the air was my desktop image for 2+ years.
46. April 25, 1994 – Montreal Canadiens 2 @ Boston Bruins 1 (OT)
Four days after missing Game 3 with an appendicitis, Roy again leads the Canadiens to a 2-1 OT win stopping 60 shots (16 in OT) as Muller scores in OT. Habs were outshot 61 – 36.
47/48. April 16/April, 18 1996 - Montreal Candiens 3/5 @ NY Rangers 2/3
Damphousse’s two greatest games in a Canadiens uniform. In Game 1, Koivu scored his first playoff goal, a howitzer from the left wing over Richter’s shoulder and Damphousse playing out of his mind ties the game in the 3rd and wins it in OT. In Game 2, the habs blow a 3-0 lead and Damphousse scores the winner with under 4 minutes to go to give the Habs a 2-0 lead heading home. Unfortunately the Habs didn't win another game, losing 4-2.
49. April 25, 2002 – Boston Bruins 5 @ Montreal Canadiens 2
With Zednik playing the best hockey of his career and the Canadiens trying to take a 3-1 series lead as an 8th seed, the Bruins had the game in hand when Kyle McLaren attempted to decapitate him. Zednik missed the rest of the playoffs, and never cut to the net with the same reckless abandon again.
50. December, 1 2007 – Nashville Predators 5 @ Montreal Canadiens 4 (OT)
All you can eat seems like a good idea, but is it really necessary to eat 3 slices of pizza, 4 hot dogs, and a tray of nachos during a 65 minute hockey game? Thank god for the Desjardins section as something needed to distract me from the Canadiens blowing a 4-1 lead with 8 minutes to go.
51. April 10, 2008 - Boston Bruins 1 @ Montreal Canadiens 4
My excitement level for the beginning of the 2008 playoffs was at a level it hadn't been since the early 90s, as I actually believed that the Canadiens had a legit opportunity to make the Stanley Cup Finals. The Bell Center was electric and the Kostitsyn brothers buried the Bruins confidence early with goals in the first 4 minutes.
52. April 27, 2002 – Montreal 2 @ Boston 1
After the Zednik/McLaren incident, I decided to blow off practice to watch this Saturday matinee. The Canadiens jumped to an early lead and Theodore stood on his head as the Habs won 2-1 even though they were outshot 44-13.
53. December 31, 1982 – USSR 5 @ Montreal 0
Vaguely remember sitting down to watch this on New Years Eve with hopes of recapturing the magic of 1975, but watching the Canadiens be embarrassed by the USSR as Tretiak registered a shutout.
54. May 8, 1998 – Montreal Canadiens 2 @ Buffalo Sabres 3
With 3 of the top 4 seeds eliminated in the first round, the Eastern Conference was wide open. After badly outshooting and being frustrated by Dominik Hasek, the Habs broke through with 2 goals in 10 seconds late in the third to send the game to OT. Allowing Andy f@#king Moog to once again derail a Canadiens season as the Sabres scored on their 25th shot. The final shots, 48-25 for Montreal.
55. April 11, 1991 – Buffalo Sabres 3 @ Montreal Canadiens 4 (OT)
Russ Courtnall breakaway from center ice breaks the Sabres backs and avoids the Canadiens traveling back to Buffalo trailing 3 games to 2.
56. May 3, 1998 – Pittsburgh Penguins 0 @ Montreal Canadiens 3
Moog shuts out the Pens as the Habs eliminate the favoured Pens in 6 games.
57. April 9, 1989 – Montreal Canadiens 4 @ Hartford Whalers 3 (OT)
A 4-0 series sweep highlighted by Kay Whitmore trying to win a race to a loose puck with Russ Courtnall with predictable results. Courtnall slid it into an empty net for the series victory
58. April 29, 1991 – Montreal Canadiens 1 @ Boston Bruins 2
Not one of Roy’s brightest moments. Trailing 1-0 in the third, Cam Neely beats Roy from outside the blueline. A last minute goal made it seem closer than it was. The Bruins domination in the 90s continued.
59. April 28, 1993 – Quebec Nordiques 2 @ Montreal Canadiens 6
The Paul Dipietro show, as he buried the Nords with his first career hat-trick.
60. April 9, 1986 - Boston Bruins 1 @ Montreal Canadiens 3
Memories are pretty vague except for Louis Sleigher running over Roy behind the net. Roy hadn’t even hit the ground and Larry Robinson had begun to lay the beat down on Sleigher. It was all the more sweeter considering his actions two seasons earlier during the Good Friday brawl.
61. April 7, 1993 – Montreal Canadiens 3 @ Pittsburgh Penguins 4 (OT)
Canadiens battle the Stanley Cup champs to a standstill before losing in OT. Roy indicated that this game gave the slumping Canadiens the confidence that they could beat the Pens.
62. May 4, 1993 – Buffalo Sabres 3 @ Montreal Canadiens 4 (OT)
Denis Savard fakes going around the net and feeds Guy Carbonneau for an easy tap in on Grant Fuhr to give the Habs a 2-0 series lead.
63. May 1, 1998 – Montreal Canadiens 5 @ Pittsburgh Penguins 2
The Canadiens win the pivotal Game 5 in Pittsburgh jumping out to an early lead and hanging on for dear life.
64. November 21, 1998 – Colorado Avalanche 3 @ Montreal Canadiens 2
My first game @ the Bell Center. Canadiens honoured Goulet and Stastny during the pre-game ceremony. The highlight of the game was the drunk guy behind me who passed out and was a victim of his buddies stacking beer cups on his head.
65. March 1, 2003 – Vancouver Canucks 1 @ Montreal Canadiens 1
An uneventful game. The highlight being running into Todd Bertuzzi, Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison at Le Cage Aux Sports after the game. One of my friends noticed Naslund at the urinal beside him and offered him thanks for screwing up his pro-line ticket as he hadn't picked a tie. Naslund offered his apologies.
66. October 21, 1995 – Toronto 3 @ Montreal 4
Habs 0-5 beat the Leafs on a last second goal by Turgeon in Tremblay and Houle’s first game.
67. April 1, 1989 – Philadelphia Flyers 2 @ Montreal Canadiens 2
Canadiens pull the goalie trying to take first place overall from the Flames even though they are risking Roy’s 1989 Forum undefeated streak.
68. April 26, 1987 – Montreal Canadiens 3 @ Quebec Nordiques 2
Naslund scores the OT winner as the Habs tie the series with the Nordiques 2-2, bouncing back from an 0-2 series deficit.
69. April 26, 2006 - Carolina Hurricanes 2 @ Montreal Canadiens 1 (OT)
Leading 2-0 in the series and 1-0 in the game, the Canadiens were 10 minutes away from knocking off the eventual Stanley Cup champion Hurricanes. An errant Justin Williams high-stick knocked Koivu out of the playoffs with an eye injury and the Canadiens never recovered.
70. April 22, 2009 - Boston Bruins 4 @ Montreal Canadiens 1
Carey Price relives history as the crowd mocks him like Roy and he raises his hands in frustration. Be careful what you wish for.
71. April 24, 1995 – Hartford Whalers 5 @ Montreal Canadiens 3
After watching the Habs make the playoffs every season of my life, I just assumed that the 1995 edition would figure out their difficulties and find a way. Battling the Mighty Whale for the 8th spot the Canadiens jumped to a 2-1 lead with 10 minutes to go and everything seemed to be right with the universe. 3 goals in five minutes left me in shock as for the first time in my life there would be no playoff hockey, something the three stooges got me used to.
72. May 7, 2002 – Carolina Hurricanes 1 @ Montreal Canadiens 2 (OT)
With the Canadiens holding on to a 1-0 lead, they are outshot 16-5 in the 3rd as the Canes tie it at 1-1.
Donald Audette saves the day with the winner off a draw early in OT.
73. December 31, 1984 – Quebec Nordiques 4 @ Montreal Canadiens 4
Ryan Walter and Pierre Mondou both score in the 59th minute stealing a win away from the Nordiques.
74. April 24, 1997 – NJ Devils 3 @ Montreal Canadiens 4 (OT)
Jose Theodore’s playoff debut. Trailing 3 games to 0 to the New Jersey Devils, Theodore made 56 saves as the Canadiens defeated the Devils 4-3 on a Patrice Brisebois winner extending the Canadiens season by one game.
75. May 12, 1998 – Buffalo Sabres 5 @ Montreal Canadiens 4 (OT)
Before the series, I had commented to my uncle that the Canadiens best goaltender was playing in the AHL. With the season on the line, Jocelyn Thibault got the start and couldn’t make it out of the 2nd period. Enter Jose Theodore who matched Hasek through 3 periods only to lose a heartbreaker in OT. Hasek was at his apex as the Canadiens once again outshot the Sabres 36-26.
76. March 30, 1991 - Quebec Nordiques 3 @ Montreal Canadiens 4
Guy Lafleur's final game at the Forum. A fantastic pre-game ovation that brought "The Flower" to tears. As always, Guy rose to the occasion and scored midway through the second period. I have this game on VHS and occasionally throw it in just to listen to Bob Cole's call. Cole doesn't offer up a "He scores", his shock that Lafleur had done it again resulted in just "Guy Lafleur"!!!! Great call by Cole as always. When people ask me which artist would represent the soundtrack of my life, it would be Bob Cole. Who cares if he gets all the words wrong.
77. April 27, 1990 – Montreal Canadiens 1 @ Boston Bruins 3
Trailing 3 games to 1, the Habs needed to take game 5 in the Boston Garden to stay alive. The game was tied 1-1 in the 59th minute before the Bruins scored and kicked dirt on the 1990 campaign.
78. May 6, 1993 – Montreal Canadiens 4 @ Buffalo Sabres 3
Another OT victory, this time a Brisebois goal that Gilbert Dionne tries to steal by tapping himself on the chest while he celebrates.
79. May 1, 1989 – Philadelphia Flyers 3 @ Montreal Canadiens 1
The only memory I have of this game is Chelios’ elbow to Brian Propp, knocking him out cold, leading to some late series fireworks.
80. April 9, 1983 – Montreal Canadiens 2 @ Buffalo Sabres 4
Naslund finally scored ending Bob Sauve’s 2 game shutout streak. A moral victory that was short lived as the Sabres swept the Habs leaving me in tears once again.
81. Jan 24, 1987 – Chicago Blackhawks 1 @ Montreal Canadiens 3
Roy diving stick save off Denis Savard. Number 7 in the video below.
82. April 28, 1987 – Quebec Nordiques 2 @ Montreal Canadiens 3
A third period goal was disallowed by Kerry Fraser driving Bergeron to go nuts. Ryan Walter scored the game winner minutes later, turning the series in Montreal's favour.
83. March 16, 1996 – NY Rangers 2 @ Montreal Canadiens 4
First game at the Molson Center.
84. April 13, 2004 Boston Bruins 4 @ Montreal Canadiens 3 (OT)
Canadiens continually exploit the Bruins lack of speed to the outside, but cannot hold a 3-2 lead as they miss an empty net and Knuble ties it up with 30 seconds to go. Bruins get the winner as Kovalev turns the puck over when he is slashed, wiping out Souray in the process. After this game, it is the only time I actually declared the Canadiens would come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a series.
85. May 9, 2002 – Carolina Hurricanes 8 @ Montreal Canadiens 2
Dead men walking. The most memorable thing about this game was Theo getting a standing ovation leaving the ice down 5-0 in the first and Doug Gilmour smashing the glass to the penalty box door in the second period.
86. October 21, 2007 – Colorado Avalanche 5 @ Montreal Canadiens 8
Jose Theodore’s return. The Avs got up 3-0 early and the biggest memory that sticks in my mind is Craig Rivet going roof daddy on Theo to give the Habs a 5-4 lead early in the 3rd period.
87. April 7, 2007 - Montreal Canadiens 5 @ Toronto Maple Leafs 6
The Canadiens collapsed during the second half of the season, but still had an opportunity to secure a playoff spot with 1 point in the final game against the Leafs. With a 2 goal lead late in the second period, the Canadiens collapsed again, missing the playoffs by 1 point. The most overhyped game to determine 17th place in the history of the NHL. Luckily the pain of the loss was mitigated by the birth of my daughter that morning.
88/89. March 23/25, 2006 - Toronto Maple Leafs 1/2 @ Montreal Canadiens 5/6
A two game back-to-back ass whipping highlighted by Kovalev running over Darcy Tucker.
90. October 28, 2006 – Toronto 5 @ Montreal 4 (SO)
Montreal roadtrip 2006. The Canadiens got behind early, but a late Souray goal evened the score at 4. Tomas Kaberle finishes the Canadiens off in the 7th round.
91. January 25, 2006 – Montreal Canadiens 5 @ Philadelphia Flyers 3
Jan Bulis. 4 goals in one game.
92. Oct 22, 2005 – NY Islanders 3 @ Montreal Canadiens 4
Montreal roadtrip 2005. Christopher Higgins scores the late winner, but the highlight of the trip was being mistaken for the NY Islanders and bypasing the line at the bar.
93. November 4, 2000 – NY Rangers 5 @ Canadiens 2
Canadiens fans chanted Fire Houle in the hallway of the Molson Center after an abysmal Saturday night.
94. January 9, 1993 – Toronto 5 @ Canadiens 4
Pat Burns return to the Forum. The Leafs won and for the first time defeated the Canadiens in a manner that was important. The first time I began to take the Leafs seriously in my lifetime.
95. October 30, 1999 – NY Rangers 2 @ Montreal Canadiens 2
Koivu injures his shoulder and is lost for the majority of the season. During the late 1990s, the season wasn't underway until Koivu suffered his annual back breaking injury.
96. January 29, 2000 – Philadelphia Flyers 2 @ Montreal Canadiens 2
The only memory I have from this game was Trent McCleary getting hit in the throat with a slapshot from Chris Therrien. A scary moment and the exclamation point on a season where the Canadiens set a team record for man games lost to injury. Vigneault almost got a ragtag bunch into the playoffs and was fired less than a year later
97. October 10, 2007 – Montreal Canadiens 3 @ Pittsburgh Penguins 2
Carey Price’s first NHL start. After watching him dominate the World Juniors and lead the Bulldogs to the Calder Cup, the anticipation was high as to whether he could step into the NHL at the age of 20. He did stopping 26 shots beating the eventual Stanley Cup Finalist Pittsburgh Penguins.
98. November 28, 2009 - Washington Capitals 4 @ Montreal Canadiens 3 (SO)
Even though this game occurred a week ago, it makes the list because it marks the first time that my five year old son was interested in sitting down and watching a full hockey game with me and actually cared about the result.
99. January 23, 1993 - Montreal Canadiens 0 @ Toronto Maple Leafs 4
100. December 4, 2009 - Boston Bruins @ Montreal Canadiens