Early in the 1989-90 season, the Washington Capitals journeyed to the Montreal Forum to do battle with Canadiens. Throughout their history, the Capitals had great difficulty beating the Canadiens in their home ice. Going into this particular game, the Capitals had beaten the Canadiens just three times in 32 games played in Montreal and had not won there since 1986.
Going into the game, the Caps were 2-2-1 and the Canadiens were 4-2-0. The Caps would use Don Beaupre in goal while the Canadiens countered with Patrick Roy, who had won the Vezina Trophy for the previous season. This was Beaupre’s first season with the Capitals who had acquired him in a trade with the Minnesota North Stars during the 1988-89 season.
Photo: Ice Hockey Fandom Blog
In Capitals’ player personnel notes, center Rob Murray would miss the game with a sore ankle. Hence, Dave Wickenheiser, a former Canadien, centered the fourth line with Robin Bawa and Alan May.
The game initially promised to be another loss for the Capitals. The Canadiens peppered Beaupre with six shots before the Capitals had even one shot. The Canadiens got an early power play at 2:47 when Chris Felix took a holding penalty.
During this power play, Shayne Corson set up Stephane Richer for an excellent chance, but Beaupre made the save. However, Richer then hit a slap shot from the right point that bounced off Caps’ defenseman, Kevin Hatcher. Stephan Libeau got the rebound and shot it past Beaupre at 4:28, giving the Habs an early 1-0 lead.
Less than a minute later Jyrki Lumme of Montreal was penalized for high-sticking. Less than a minute into the ensuing power play, at 6:09, Dale Hunter got in a scrum with Russ Courtnall. This resulted in Hunter being assessed penalties for roughing and elbowing and Courtnall being assessed a penalty for high-sticking. This nullified the Caps’ power play. No scoring resulted as a result of any of those penalties.
The Caps tied the game with less than three minutes left in the period, at 17:22. Hunter skated with the puck toward the goal and passed to Geoff Courtnall in the right corner. Courtnall passed it back to Hunter who then redirected the puck past Roy with 2:38.
However, just 15 seconds later, Montreal pulled ahead again. The Capitals were not quick enough with clearing the puck from the front of their net which resulted in Jocelyn Lemieux getting the puck and swatting it past Beaupre, giving Montreal a 2-1 lead.
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The second period was marked by more misconduct penalties. This time Robin Bawa of Washington and Sylvain Lefebvre of Montreal each earned 2-minute misconduct penalties at 3:34. There was more misconduct to follow.
At 8:53, Hunter got into a scrap with Craig Ludwig. Then Chris Chelios came to the aid of Ludwig. As he was the third man in the fight, he was assessed a roughing penalty, a misconduct penalty, and a game misconduct penalty which resulted in him being ejected from the game.
With just under two minutes left in the period, at 18:03, Beaupre tried to make a clearing pass to the corner. It was intercepted by Bobby Smith who shot it toward the goal. Beaupre saved Smith’s shot but the rebound went to Tom Chorske who was alone in the slot for an open shot. The score was now 3-1.
Just 12 seconds later, Brian Tutt carried the puck just past the Montreal blue line and then blasted a shot from there which got past Roy who was partially screened. The Caps narrowed the deficit to 3-2, which was the score going into the second intermission.
Things were quiet during most of the third period. Two minor penalties occurred, one for each team, with neither team scoring. As time kept ticking off the clock, it looked bleak for the visitors. But with 2:08 left in regulation, Michal Pivonka poked the puck past Roy which tied the game at 3-3. He got assists from Ciccarelli and Courtnall. The game proceeded to overtime.
During overtime, it looked like Montreal might win again but Beaupre made several good saves.
Then Montreal defenseman Eric Desjardins lost the puck to Scott Stevens in the neutral zone. Stevens then passed it to Doug Wickenheiser who saw Hunter skating into the Montreal zone along the left side and passed it to him. Hunter made a wrist shot which got past Roy’s stick side at 3:37 into the overtime period, giving the Caps a 4-3 victory over Montreal.
This win by the Capitals was the first defeat for goaltender Patrick Roy in his last 36 regular season starts at the Forum.
Head Coach Bryan Murray, who had graduated from McGill University, which was down the street from the Forum, talked about the win.
“It’s a good feeling for a lot of people. The Forum is a special place and the organization here has been so good. But I had a couple colleagues from school and a lot of friends here.”
Dale Hunter talked about the game-winner after the game.
“The defenseman [Desjardins] was playing the pass. I looked up and Roy was cheating over, giving me room on the short side.”
Hunter continued to talk about the team as a comeback team. “We started it in Russia, trying to be a third-period team. We’ve come back and kind of done it here.”
Hunter was referring to a pre-season trip in September 1989 where the Capitals traveled to the Soviet Union to play several hockey clubs there.
Hunter was the Alpha and the Omega of the Capitals’ scoring as he got the team’s first and last goal. He now had five goals for the season. Brian Tutt’s goal that game turned out to be his first and only NHL goal.
For that season, the Capitals finished third in the Patrick Division but went on to beat the New Jersey Devils in the first round of the playoffs and then beat the New York Rangers in the second round of the playoffs to finally advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history.
Coach Bryan Murray was fired in January 1990 and replaced with his younger brother, Terry, who had been coaching the Capitals AHL affiliate, the Baltimore Skipjacks.
By Diane Doyle
Washinton Post: 10/17/1989 –Capitals Win in Overtime in Montreal
Box Score of Game From Hockey Reference
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