Claude Lemieux flipped a backhander into the net 5:55 into overtime Tuesday night to give Montreal a 2-1 victory over the Hartford Whalers in the seventh and deciding game of the Adams Division final and advance the Canadiens to the semifinals of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Lemieux picked up a loose puck behind the Whalers’ net, whipped around in front, and scored his sixth goal of the playoffs that sent the Montreal Forum into pandemonium as the Canadiens piled on the 20-year-old forward in front of the Hartford net.
The Canadiens will meet the New York Rangers, upset winners of two series already, for the Wales Conference championship. The first game of the best-of-seven series is scheduled for Montreal on Thursday night.
Dave Babych sent the game into overtime with less than three minutes left in the third period with his first playoff goal.
Taking a drop pass from Dean Evason, Babych ripped a slap shot from the blue line that beat Canadien goaltender Patrick Roy high to his glove hand at 17:12.
Two minutes later, the Canadiens lost the services of rookie Stephane Richer, who left the game with an injured right knee. He was removed from the ice on a stretcher and taken to a hospital for further examinations.
Both Roy and Hartford goaltender Mike Liut made key saves throughout, with Liut facing 32 shots and Roy 25.