Saturday, 23 February 2013

Today in Habs History: February 23rd Edition

It’s amazing how a puck to the groin can can mark the beginning of a Hall of Fame career.
Such was the case for the Montreal Canadiens on February 22, 1985 when goaltender Steve Penney, who marvelled fans in the previous post-season, took a puck to the groin during a team practice. With a pair of weekend games at the Forum approaching, the Habs called up a prospect from the Granby Bisons by the name of Patrick Roy.

Regular backup Doug Soeteart would get the start on Saturday the 23rd, against the Winnipeg Jets, while the 19-year-old would watch from the bench. The veteran Soeteart was shaky through two periods however,  allowing four goals on 11 shots.
With the game tied at four goals apiece, Canadiens coach Jacques Lemaire decided to give the rookie goaltender a shot in the third period. Roy had an easy 20 minutes, facing just two Winnipeg shots.
A pair of Montreal goals in the third period gave Roy what would be the first of 289 career wins for the Canadiens.

Chris Nilan led the Canadiens offense that night with two goals (his 16th and 17th of the season) and an assist. One of the goals came on his first career penalty shot in the second period.
Roy would not see action in the Sunday game, but stayed with the team as they started a four-game road trip,after Penney re-injured his groin the following Monday. Roy wouldn’t see further NHL action though, as Penney returned, and was sent back to Granby.
The following season, he would be in Montreal to stay. Roy would ultimately take over Penney’s starting job and of course lead the Canadiens to Stanley Cup victory in the spring of 1986.
Also on this day…
1952: Elmer Lach scores a goal and adds three assists against the Chicago Black Hawks, becoming the NHL’s all-time scoring leader with 550 points. Bill Cowley had held the record with 548 points since 1946.
The Canadiens won the game 7-0. Dickie Moore scored his second career hat trick in the game and added an assist. Gerry McNeil recorded the tenth shutout of his career.
1963: Jean Beliveau scores a goal for his 700th career NHL point in the Habs’ 6-3 win over the New York Rangers.
1977: Guy Lafleur scores his 8th career hat trick in the Canadiens’ 4-2 win over the Atlanta Flames.
1978: Steve Shutt scored four goal and Guy Lafleur had four assists, in a 5-1 Canadiens win over the Cleveland Barons.
1993: Kirk Muller scores his 250th career goal in the NHL during Montreal’s 5-1 win over the St. Louis Blues.
2008: The Canadiens retire Bob Gainey’s #23 sweater in a pre-game ceremony. The Canadiens lost the game to the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 3-0.

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