MIAMI -- The signs were there throughout the playoffs. The familiar swagger, the wink, the wisecracks, the impish smile. Patrick Roy, Colorado's unflappable goaltender, had it all going. But he most definitely saved the best for last.
He wrapped up the third Stanley Cup championship of his 11-year career with a perfect performance Monday night, making 63 saves in a 1-0 triple-overtime victory over the Florida Panthers that completed a four-game sweep and gave the Avalanche (formerly Quebec Nordiques) the title in their first year based in Denver. It was 104 minutes, 31 seconds of high drama that marked the eighth straight victory in the finals for Roy, dating to 1993, when he lost the first game to Los Angeles, then won the next four for Montreal.
An unassisted goal by defenseman Uwe Krupp was the only shot of the 119 by both teams that went in, completing the Avalanche's sweep and the
longest 1-0 game in finals history. It was the third-longest finals game ever.
As thrilled as Roy was to reach the pinnacle, he spent time reflecting on the tumultuous nature of how he got there: the Dec. 2 outburst in a game against Detroit that led to his being traded to Colorado from Montreal four days later. As has been replayed over and over on TV and dissected in the print media, Roy was angry about being left in for a shellacking at the Forum. After Roy allowed his ninth goal at 11: 57 of the second period, Mario Tremblay finally lifted the goalie, who glared at the coach when he reached the bench, then brushed past him to say something to team owner Ronald Corey, who was sitting behind the bench. The next day, rookie general manager Rejean Houle announced that Roy's actions would not be tolerated. The team suspended him and then sent him packing.
Roy was emotional about his departure to Colorado, with his wife and three children, but settled in well.
By the playoffs, he was the old Patrick Roy, sparring with the other team. In the series against Chicago, when Jeremy Roenick was sniping at him, Roy said he couldn't hear what Roenick was saying because he "had two Stanley Cup rings in my ears."
Roy said he feels no bitterness toward the Canadiens, specifically Houle and coach Mario Tremblay. "I'm the happiest guy in the world," said Roy. "I'm sure I'm more happy than those guys are. There's no reason why I should think about revenge or say something. It turned out to be the nicest thing that could happen to me."
The longer the game went Monday night, the more strength Roy and Florida goalie John Vanbiesbrouck demonstrated. Unfortunately for Vanbiesbrouck, his luck ran out.
"When you get in overtime as a goalie, you want to be tough to beat," said Roy, who had never faced 63 shots in a shutout before. "If he's tough to beat, you've got to make yourself tough to beat. I felt great; I was not tired at all. I guess because of the stress and all that, you just focus so hard on the game. Beezer made some unbelievable saves out there. He was fantastic. It had to be a goal like it happened, a screen shot and a perfect shot from far like it happened. But [the shutout] isn't what is important. It's important we won the Cup."
Pub Date: 6/12/96