The year was 1993 and the day was the 14th of May 1993. It happened to be a friday night (just like tonight) and it was also my birthday (as it was today).
I had been watching the Montreal Canadiens season coming into the playoffs and was glued to most of those games just as I am today with Habs games.
Had just seen the the Quebec Nordiques win the 2 first games of their series vs the Habs and then the improbable comback of 4 straight wins vs Quebec.
Then there was the Canadiens – Sabres series that saw the Canadiens make short work of Buffalo in 4 games with the last 3 in OT. Lot’s of OTs that year.
While that Habs – Sabres series was raging on… there was another series that really had my eye. It was of course the Mighty Pittsburgh Penguins of that time with Mario Lemieux at the helm.
I watched as much of that series as I could and on the night of the 14th of May 1993 I was having a little party. While the party was happenin’ there was a TV all fired up with that game 7 NY Islanders vs Pittsburgh Penguins. I and a few friends watched closely….. while some other people were practicing their social skills….
The hope was that somehow the NY Islanders would take the Pens out. And for the whole series it seemed to me an improbability. After all, the Mighty Penguins had finished the season with the league best 119 points while the Isles had squeeked in with 87 points. That was also back in the day of the 84 game regular season.
But somehow the Isles had kept it close and the series was in it’s 7th game…. all without their star Pierre Turgeon. I learned something really important during that series. Never count out a team in the playoffs until the series is OVER. That simple. A team that plays together and plays hard until the end always has a chance. Both the Habs and the Flyers of 2010 have shown us that.
I remember the youngster Darius Kasparaitis checking hard and was on Mario and company every chance he got (Darius would later play for the Pens). He was completely frustrating Mario and co. And I remember Ray Ferraro was lights out that series.
In the end, that game that night of the 14th went to Overtime! And then in the OT the miracle happened. A fellow by the name of David Volek scored the winning goal at 5:16 of the OT. It was pandemonium at my little party. That completely made my night and was one of the best birthday presents I’d had. One of the fondest birthdays in my memory actually.
Why? Because looking at the teams still in the mix I would much rather have had my Habs play the Isles then the Pens. And it seemed to be a year that the stars had aligned for Montreal. That’s the feeling I got watching that year. Unlikely heros, unlikely wins….
And then of course the Habs went on to beat the Islanders and the Kings to win their 24th Stanley cup.
In no way is this to compare with the run the Habs are having this year. Different players, different era…. still though, impessive show of team play and heart by the 2010 Habs! Loving this and looking forward to the Habs – Flyers series.
But this time of year, the 14th, my birthday, I always remember that Isles – Pens series… cheering for Ray Ferraro…etc.
The other night, the 12th of may 2010 really reminded me of that time so many years ago when the Habs were on that historic playoff run.