Sportsnet is turning back the clock to relive Canada’s most unforgettable best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoffs series with NHL Classics: Best of Seven Series. Game 4 of 1993’s showdown between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings airs tonight. The full broadcast schedule can be found here.
It looked as though the Detroit Red Wings were poised to run away with this Norris Division matchup after outscoring the Toronto Maple Leafs 12-5 and taking a 2-0 lead series at Joe Louis Arena.
However, Toronto bounced back with a vital Game 3 victory thanks in large part to a two-goal effort from Dave Andreychuk at Maple Leaf Gardens. He scored twice in the opening period and the team held on to its lead to take Game 3, which aired on Sportsnet over the weekend. The big winger was able to carry that momentum into Game 4 and hockey fans can relive that contest Tuesday night with Bob Cole and Harry Neale on the call.
Andreychuk was acquired by the Maple Leafs along with Daren Puppa and a first-round draft pick in exchange for Grant Fuhr and a future fifth-rounder midway through the 1992-93 campaign. Andreychuk had an immediate impact and developed strong chemistry with his new teammates, scoring 25 goals in 31 regular-season games with Toronto. He was frequently the beneficiary of Doug Gilmour’s setups.
“You trade a Grant Fuhr to Buffalo and get a 50-goal guy in Dave Andreychuk, and all of a sudden you can form your Andreychuk-Gilmour pairing that, for two years, was probably the best pairing in the league,” Wendel Clark recently told Sportsnet’s Luke Fox.
Andreychuk started Game 4 on a line with Peter Zezel and Gilmour, who won the Selke Trophy that year, finished runner-up to Mario Lemieux in Hart votes and finished seventh in league scoring with 127 points.
Andreychuk never had a 100-point season in his 23-year NHL career but finished with back-to-back 99-point efforts when he joined the Maple Leafs.
“I played against him in minor hockey, a tournament or two, and then in junior, but you don’t know how good he is until he’s on your team,” Gilmour said of his former linemate in an NHL.com interview. “You get him on your team, there’s respect. The one guy that always stayed on my line was Dave.”
After a scoreless first period, Sheldon Kennedy opened the scoring for the Red Wings midway through the second stanza when he scooped up a loose puck in the Leafs end after it took a funny bounce off the glass and fired a shot past Felix Potvin.
Andreychuk tied the game 76 seconds later thanks to a perfect shoot-in by Glenn Anderson. Andreychuk shielded the puck from Vladimir Konstantinov beautifully and beat Detroit netminder Tim Cheveldae. Mark Osborne put the Leafs ahead a few shifts later and Paul Coffey evened things at 2-2 before the action-packed second period ended.
Andreychuk earned the game-winner on a nifty wraparound after picking up his own rebound 4:47 into the third period.
This was Andreychuk at the peak of his powers and his immense skill and finesse near the net was on display in this series – in particular in Game 4.
He scored in Game 5 and again in Game 6 and led the series, which the Leafs won in seven, with six total goals. He stayed hot in the next series against the St. Louis Blues. In fact, Andreychuk had scored 12 goals in 41 career playoff games as a member of the Buffalo Sabres and matched that total in a 12-game stretch with the Maple Leafs in the spring of 1993.
“A lot of times he shot the puck hard on the ice at the goalie’s stick,” said Gilmour, who assisted on the winning goal in Game 4. “Whether it would go underneath it or it would come back to him, he was big enough to get the rebound, take it from one side to the other and then go upstairs. He paid the price in front of the net. He earned his goals.”
Andreychuk, whose 640 career goals currently ranks 15th all-time and who captained the Tampa Bay Lightning to a Stanley Cup in 2004, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017 in his ninth year of eligibility.