Patrick Roy, the rookie goaltender who led the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup final, talks to the goal posts during games. No, they don't talk back to him.
But Roy was probably talking to himself during the opening game of the Stanley Cup final Friday night against the Calgary Flames. He was burned for four consecutive goals as the Flames beat the Canadiens, 5-2, before a wild sellout crowd of 16,762 fans at the Olympic Saddledome.
Roy had been sensational in leading the Canadiens to the final for the 28th time in their illustrious National Hockey League history. He had started all 15 of the previous playoff games this season and hadn't allowed more than three goals in any of them.
However, Roy and the Canadiens didn't have it against the fired-up Flames, who are gunning for their first Stanley Cup championship. Game 2 will be played here Sunday night.
With the score tied, 1-1, in the final minute of the second period, Roy lost his cool on the tiebreaking goal.
Jim Peplinski of the Flames, moved from left wing to center, tipped in a shot by teammate Paul Baxter with 49 seconds left in the period to give the Flames a 2-1 lead.
However, it appeared that Peplinski had his stick above his shoulders when he shot, and Roy argued that the goal shouldn't have counted.
Referee Kerry Fraser allowed the goal to stand after conferring with the linesmen.
Roy charged linesman Ron Finn, pushing him, and he later shoved linesman Ray Scapinello. The goalie drew a 10-minute misconduct penalty for his outburst, and he could face further disciplinary action from the NHL after league officials look at a videotape of the incident.
"I think the goal was no goal, but it's a decision for the referee," said Roy, who speaks with a French accent. "They gave them a goal, and it changed the game around."
Asked what he said to the officials, Roy replied: "I said nothing to them. I don't want to talk about what happened.
"It wasn't my worst game, but it wasn't the best game that I've played in the playoffs."
The Calgary crowd jeered Roy throughout the game, chanting his name and waving their hands at him in hex-like fashion.
"When you see the fans in New York (the Canadiens' semifinal opponent was the Rangers), this is nothing," Roy said. "They didn't bother me."
Montreal Coach Jean Perron said that Peplinski's controversial goal was the turning point.
"It was no goal--it's as simple as that," the rookie coach said. "The referee didn't see it. He went to Finn and he said it was a goal. After they get that goal, it took the momentum away from us."
Said the Canadien captain, Bob Gainey: "We thought it was a high stick. It happened quickly, and you can't really tell."
Leading, 2-1, the Flames scored two goals on their first two shots of the third period against Roy to take a 4-1 lead and put the game away.
Center Dan Quinn scored an unassisted shorthanded goal just 2 minutes 14 seconds into the final period to give Calgary a two-goal lead.
And right wing Lanny McDonald put a shot through Roy's leg at 3:33 of the period to clinch the win.
Defenseman Chris Chelios added a goal for Montreal at 17:56 of the third period, and Calgary captain Doug Risebrough scored an empty-net goal with 25 seconds left to close out the scoring.
Rookie goalie Mike Vernon of the Flames, who had started every game of the playoffs this season for Calgary, got off to a slow start when he allowed Canadien left wing Mats Naslund to score the first goal of the game on a power play.
But veteran left wing John Tonelli tied the score at 1-1 with a goal at 12:08 of the first period to put the Flames back in it.
Vernon came back to play a good game, making 22 saves, and the Flames did a superb job of killing penalties against the team that had the third best power play in the league during the regular season.
Montreal had six power plays but could manage just one goal on them.
"Our penalty-killing has been doing the job all season," McDonald said. "We needed it tonight with the ref calling penalties on us."
Calgary also confused the Canadiens by shuffling their lines.
Coach Bob Johnson moved Peplinski from left wing to center on a line with left wing Nick Fotiu and right wing Tim Hunter.
The team winning the first game of the Stanley Cup final has gone on to win the series a total of 55 times (82.1%). Only 11 teams have come back from an 0-1 deficit. However, the Canadiens lost the first game of the 1979 final to the New York Rangers and came back to win the series.