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LeClair, Desjardins Helped Last Canada Team That Won Stanley Cup

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Canadiens celebrate Eric Desjardins' overtime goal in Stanley Cup finals.
Canadiens celebrate Eric Desjardins' overtime goal in 1993 Stanley Cup finals.

It’s been 30 years since a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup. Montreal was the last team to do it, and its roster was stuffed with Flyers.

Four future Flyers and one famous former Flyer were major contributors on that Cup-winning team.

This season had promise for Canada. Edmonton and Toronto advanced to the second round. The Oilers had Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. The Maple Leafs had their “Core Four” of offensive might.

But, Edmonton lost in six games to Vegas. Toronto lost in five games to Florida. Losing to the Cup finalists probably isn’t much comfort.

These facts are painful for our friends to the North. Hockey is their sport, their passion, their Super Bowl. Canadians have been saying “wait until next year” for far too long, in their mind.

LeClair, Desjardins Lead The Way

In 1993, the Canadiens’ future Flyers were John LeClair, Eric Desjardins, Gilbert Dionne and Kevin Haller — a formidable group. The former Flyer was J.J. Daigneault, author of the famous winning goal in Game 6 of the 1987 finals against the Oilers.

The Flyers’ contingent were major contributors on Jacques Demers’ team. Three of Montreal’s victories in the finals were in overtime and each of the winning goals was scored by a future Flyer.

LeClair scored overtime winners in Games 3 and 4 as Montreal won the Cup in five games over Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings. LeClair had four goals in 20 playoff games that season.

In Game 2, with Montreal down 1-0 in the series, Desjardins scored all three goals, including the winner 51 seconds into overtime.

LeClair, Desjardins and Dionne were traded to the Flyers in February 1995, for Mark Recchi and a third-round pick.

Haller was traded for Yves Racine in June 1994 swap of defensemen. The Flyers dealt Daigneault to the Canadiens for defenseman Scott Sandelin in November 1988. 

“You definitely appreciate it a lot more after. At least I do, because that’s my only one [Stanley Cup],” LeClair told prohockeynews.com in 2022.

“Being a younger guy there is a feeling of, ‘This is great, we’re going to do this every year,’ but you know it’s special because the older guys will tell you how rare it is to get this chance. They were dead right.

“We should have won at least two more in Philadelphia, but it just didn’t work out for us, but I’m fortunate that I did win. It was a terrific experience.”

LeClair and Desjardins are in the Flyers’ Hall of Fame.

Getting Hot

That Cup-winning Canadiens team wasn’t exactly a powerhouse, going 48-30-6 and finishing third in the Adams Division behind the Bruins and Quebec Nordiques.

Montreal got hot at the right time — in the playoffs. The Canadiens defeated the Nordiques, 4-2; Sabres, 4-0; and Islanders, 4-1, to advance to the finals. The Canadiens won an astounding 10 consecutive playoff overtime games in 1993.

Montreal had three future Hall of Famers — goalie Patrick Roy, center Denis Savard and center Guy Carbonneau.

Had a feeling Canada was going to win the Cup this season with a strong Maple Leafs team and McDavid leading the Oilers.

Instead, we have a one-sided Sun Belt final between Vegas and Florida. Oh, we miss Rue Ste.-Catherine, that famous street in Montreal.

Flyers, In Case You Missed It:

Peter Laviolette is a candidate for Rangers’ head-coaching job.

Will Nolan Patrick get his name on Stanley Cup if Vegas wins?

Game 2 analysis: What happened to the Panthers?

Around The National Hockey Network:

Vegas Hockey Now: Golden Knights crush Panthers in Game 2, and troll Florida, too. Vegas goalie Adin Hill continues to be the star goalie in the finals.

Florida Hockey Now: Panthers desperately need a win in Game 3.

Buffalo Hockey Now: Sabres 2022 first-round pick Noah Ostlund will play in the Swedish Hockey League next season.

Calgary Hockey Now: Flames hope veteran Mikael Backlund wants to stay in Calgary.

Chicago Hockey Now: Former Blackhawk Alex DeBrincat reportedly could be traded by Senators.

Colorado Hockey Now: Ducks hire head coach — AHL’s Colorado Eagles coach Greg Cronin. Flyers assistant Brad Shaw reportedly was a candidate for the Ducks’ job.

Los Angeles Hockey Now: Kings shake up their broadcast crew.

Montreal Hockey Now: Canadiens sign Cole Caufield to 8-year contract.

New Jersey Hockey Now: Swedish forward Jesper Boqvist looks to find his role with the Devils.

New York Islanders Hockey Now: Isles trying to find ways to carve out some salary-cap space.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Expect to see Penguins president of hockey operations Kyle Dubas at the draft table.

San Jose Hockey Now: Source says goalie Eetu Makiniemi should return to Sharks next season.

Washington Hockey Now: Capitals minor league goalie Zach Fucale to sign with KHL.

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