This Week in Montreal Canadiens History: April 25th – May 1st

1974; Goalie Ken Dryden #29 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Melchior DiGiacomo/Getty Images)
1974; Goalie Ken Dryden #29 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Melchior DiGiacomo/Getty Images) /
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On this week’s edition of Montreal Canadiens history: Big Bill, the best Lemieux (to play in a Montreal Canadiens uniform), clutch performances, the Hall of Fame and more!

April 25th

Clutch Canadiens

On this day, the year of our Lord 1994, the Montreal Canadiens beat the Boston Bruins 2-1 in overtime in the 5th game of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series. All the regular time goals came in the third period, with Jozef Stümpel scoring 2 minutes in for the Bruins, and John LeClair tying the game with just over 5 minutes left. And towards the end of the overtime period, Kirk Muller (who also assisted on the LeClair goal) gave the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 lead in the series.

In all fairness, Montreal probably shouldn’t have won the game, and would go on to lose the series in 7 games. Bruins goalie Jon Casey had a decent night, with 34 saves on 36 shots, but Habs goaltender Patrick Roy faced 61 shots and stopped 60 of them.

But the record-breaking aspect of this win was that it was Patrick Roy’s, and the Canadiens team as a whole, 11th straight playoff overtime win. And that goes back to the magical 1993 Stanley Cup winning run.

It’s ironic, looking back at it, that the very first game of the 1993 Stanley Cup Playoffs was the Quebec Nordiques beating the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in overtime, given Montreal’s dominance in the extra frame after that point. On their way to beating the Nordiques in 6 games, two of those were wins in overtime.

Then it was a fascinating little series against the Buffalo Sabres, where every game finished 4-3 in favour of the Canadiens, and the last three games being settled in overtime. Then there was the New York Islanders, who fell to the Canadiens in 5 games, two of which went to overtime. In fact, Montreal’s 2nd straight overtime win over the Islanders also tied the NHL record for longest playoff winning streak at 11 games.

And then there was the Final against the L.A. Kings. Sandwiched between a 4-1 defeat and a 4-1 victory, the Montreal Canadiens rattled off three straight overtime wins. For those keeping count, that is 10 overtime wins in a row during one postseason run.

The Canadiens would go on to win an overtime game against the New York Rangers in 1996 to extend the streak to 12, and then a triple overtime win over the Devils in 1997, and finally beat the Penguins in 1998, before losing to the Sabres later that year in overtime.

Obviously those wins came without Patrick Roy, but Roy would keep his own streak going exactly 2 years later. It was quite the game for the Colorado Avalanche, who won 5-4 in overtime over the Vancouver Canucks. Joe Sakic scored a hattrick, including the game winnner in overtime. Sakic retired with 8 playoff overtime goals, an NHL record. And another NHL record is 12 straight playoff overtime wins by Patrick Roy.

Happy Birthday Alexei Emelin!

Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports /

On April 25th, 1986, Alexei Vyacheslavovich Emelin was born in Tolyatti, Russia. Emelin was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the 3rd round of the 2004 NHL entry draft, the same year as Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin, and one year before Carey Price.

Emelin was a rough and tumble defender, who put up many more hits than points as a stay-at-home defender. But you might be surprised that Emelin did not get in many fights during his NHL career. That is because of a fight before he even came into the NHL.

In 2009 in the KHL, Emelin fought Alexander Svitov, in a video that is easy to find on Youtube, but I won’t put here as it is quite violent, even for a hockey fight. Especially since the larger, older Svitov continued to punch Emelin while he was lying on the ice.

The fight left Emelin badly injured and he needed to have a steel plate in his face to help rebuild his eye socket. From then on, Emelin tried to avoid fighting.

Emelin finished his career with 456 games and 15 goals and 81 points. He spent all his career in Montreal, except for one season in Nashville. That was after the Vegas Golden Knights selected him in the expansion draft, and flipped him for a 3rd round pick. Emelin is still playing in the KHL with the Omsk Avangard.