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Kings Beaten by a Hab Trick : Game 2: Canadiens tie game with 1:13 left after penalty on McSorley's stick, then Desjardins' third goal wins it in overtime and evens series.


MONTREAL — Live by the stick, die by the stick.

Two sticks caused the Kings' demise in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals--one owned by King defenseman Marty McSorley, the other by Montreal defenseman Eric Desjardins. Desjardins scored all three goals in the Canadiens' 3-2 overtime victory on Thursday night before a sellout crowd of 19,959 at the Forum, becoming the first defenseman to record a hat trick in the Cup finals.

The Canadiens evened the best-of-seven series at a game apiece, with Game 3 at the Forum on Saturday.

McSorley provided an unwitting assist on Desjardins' second goal, which tied it at 2-2 with 1:13 remaining in regulation. He was fingered by the Canadiens for use of an illegal stick at 18:15 of the third period, and referee Kerry Fraser measured the stick, ruling it illegal as it exceeded the permissible curvature of one half-inch by approximately a quarter of an inch.

"I don't feel good about it," McSorley said. "I feel like I made a mistake."

Had the stick been legal, the Kings would have had a power play. But it wasn't even a close call, and Montreal Coach Jacques Demers looked like a genius. And so did his captain, center Guy Carbonneau, who spotted McSorley's illegal stick in Game 1.

Thirty-two seconds later, the fans at the Forum were probably ready to erect statues of Demers and Carbonneau. At the start of the power play, Demers pulled goaltender Patrick Roy to create a six-on-four advantage.

Montreal needed 32 seconds to send the game into overtime when Vincent Damphousse, from the right circle, passed to Desjardins in the slot. His one-timed blast beat King goaltender Kelly Hrudey on the glove side. It was Montreal's first power-play goal of the series and ended an 0-for-31 drought.

The Kings had tied the score, 1-1, on a short-handed goal by Dave Taylor in the second period and took a 2-1 lead on Pat Conacher's goal with 11:28 in the third period.

Once it got to overtime, the Canadiens' overtime magic continued when Desjardins scored at 51 seconds after Benoit Brunet picked up Desjardins' missed slap shot at the side of the net. He took the pass from Brunet and skated in and took a slap shot inside the right circle, beating Hrudey between the pads and extending Montreal's winning streak in overtime to eight games, tying the NHL record for most consecutive overtime victories.

"It was a stupid, crazy bounce off the glass," Hrudey said. "He (Desjardins) took the original shot that was four feet wide. It hit one of the partitions in the glass and came right back. (Darryl) Sydor forced the player coming from behind, but he (Brunet) found Desjardins as he was coming out front."

Said King owner Bruce McNall, shaking his head: "What a way to lose. You've got to give him (Demers) a lot of credit."

The Canadiens were giving the credit to McSorley. Evidently, they received information about McSorley's stick from someone watching the King-Maple Leaf series. Carbonneau's eyes lit up when he saw McSorley's stick in Game 1, and he stored the information and claimed other King players were bending the rules.

"It's his fault, he played with it," Carbonneau said. "Some guys used illegal sticks and changed them late in the game. Luc (Robitaille) did. But even then I think Luc's stick was illegal. . . . From the first period of Game 1, I knew it. But tonight, I kept reminding him (Demers). I reminded him in the first period. After they took the lead with about six, seven minutes to go, I tried to remind him again."

This time, Demers listened. He knew it was time to take a risk and he felt certain it was a calculated one. Demers knew the Canadiens would be "dead with their backs against the wall," should they head to Los Angeles down 0-2.

The Canadiens, not surprisingly, mocked King Coach Barry Melrose's statement that he wouldn't ask for a stick measurement under any circumstance.

Carbonneau snorted in disgust.

"If he (Melrose) is down 2-1, and he sees someone with an illegal stick, you can't tell me he wouldn't make the call," he said. "I don't care what he says. I don't care if he says it's cheap. The rules are there. If you want to break the rules, you take the chance of getting caught."

Roy didn't believe it, either, saying: "He needs a lot of character to say that. . . . It might be a turning point in the series. It could be 2-0 against us, but now we're even. Lots of guys on the Kings have illegal sticks. Him and Robitaille. It was easy to see."

Carbonneau and Roy said that other Kings were using illegal sticks but refused to name them. "We're going to keep that in the bank," Carbonneau said.

Sydor said the penalty was so clear cut, there was nothing to complain about. All the Kings men said they learned a lesson on Thursday night.

Yet, Sydor said that the Canadiens are stuck on sticks.

"No, we don't (look at Montreal's sticks)," he said. "We want to play the game. We want to worry about our game. After going out there for warm-ups, I looked at their bench and Denny Savard was looking at everybody's stick. That's the way they play."

Melrose shot down the notion of this being another chapter of Canadiens' lore, another ghost coming out of the corridor to stop the Kings.

"If you believe too much in things in the past, your future goes to hell," Melrose said. "The past is nice to look at, but you live in the future."

Additional Coverage


He says the stick that was cited was the only one he used that wasn't up to specifications. C9


He becomes the seventh defenseman with a playoff hat trick--and the first to do it in the finals. C9


McNall denies report that he offered Kings a $1-million bonus if they win the Stanley Cup. C9

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