By the numbers: Looking back at 1993 Leafs-Red Wings playoff series

Toronto Maple Leafs Bob Rouse, left, blocks the of Detroit Red Wings Dino Ciccarelli, center, while applying defensive pressure, as Toronto goalie Felix Potvin keeps ye out for the puck during a Stanley Cup Playoff meeting at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Wednesday night, April 21, 1993. (Blake Discher/AP)

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 1 of 1993’s showdown between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings airs tonight, April 21, starting at 6 p.m. ET. The full broadcast schedule can be found here.


In April 1993, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings went head-to-head in the Norris Division Semifinals.

Leafs fans didn’t know at the time of puck drop the drama that would unfold in this ’93 post-season — a spring that would see the legendary Pat Burns lead the Maple Leafs on their finest playoff run since winning it all in 1967.

Round 1 saw an Original Six rivalry revived when the 44-29-11 Maple Leafs took on the high-scoring, 47-28-9 Red Wings — at the time, fresh off their best regular season in franchise history. It took seven games and one unlikely overtime hero to settle the score in this one, the only first-round series that went the distance that year.

Here’s a by-the-numbers overview of the series to put it into context, which is being re-aired on Sportsnet starting Tuesday night.

.863: Series save percentage posted by Maple Leafs starting goalie Felix Potvin. The 21-year-old rookie had recently taken over Toronto’s crease from Grant Fuhr, who was dealt to Buffalo in the trade that saw Dave Andreychuk join the Maple Leafs just a few months prior.

2: No. of games that went to overtime, both of which were won by the Maple Leafs.

5: Years since the last playoff matchup between the Maple Leafs and Red Wings — the 1988 Norris Division Semifinals, won by Detroit.

6: No. of goals scored by Maple Leafs forward Dave Andreychuk in the series, the most from a single player on either team throughout all seven games. All six goals came within a four-game goal streak that included back-to-back two-goal games that lifted the Maple Leafs out of a 2-0 series deficit. This was his first playoff series with the Maple Leafs, having been traded to Toronto from Buffalo in a five-player exchange in February of that year. (The trade saw the Maple Leafs pick up Andreychuk, goalie Daren Puppa, and the Sabres’ 1993 first-round draft pick in exchange for goaltender Grant Fuhr and the Maple Leafs’ 1995 fifth-round pick.)

9: No. of (eventual) Hall of Famers on the ice throughout this series — six on Detroit (Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom, Mark Howe, Sergei Federov, Paul Coffey, Dino Ciccarelli) and three on Toronto (Glenn Anderson, Dave Andreychuk, Doug Gilmour). This number doesn’t include builders Pat Burns, the legendary head coach who was in his first season the Maple Leafs at the time, and Cliff Fletcher, who had taken over as general manager just two years prior.

12: No. of points registered by Doug Gilmour, most among all skaters in the series. (Detroit’s Paul Coffey was right behind him with 11.) Four of Gilmour’s points came in a huge Game 7 performance for No. 93.

12: Penalty minutes issued to Wendel Clark — a conservative series total for the gritty heart-and-soul of this Maple Leafs squad, and a tally that didn’t include any fighting infractions despite cries from the fans and media. As he explained during a recent interview on Lead Off, it was all part of Pat Burns’ plan.

“Burnsy said, ‘If there’s one thing that happens, you are not to have a fight in this series — and you are not fighting [Bob] Probert,” Clark said. “It was basically part of Burnsy’s game plan not to get involved.”

Clearly, it worked… though it didn’t apply two series later against the L.A. Kings…

“Well, I never got told I couldn’t fight Marty,” Clark said with a laugh.

 
Wendel Clark on that classic Maple Leafs-Red Wings playoff series in 1993
April 02 2020

29: Years since the Maple Leafs had defeated the Red Wings in the playoffs. That was 1964, when Toronto topped Detroit in the Stanley Cup Final.

34: Regular-season goals scored by 28-year-old Maple Leafs rookie (and Game 7 hero) Nikolai Borschevsky during the 1992-93 season, good for the team lead.

After missing Games 2 through 6 of the series, Borschevsky returned to Toronto’s lineup just in time to help his club to victory.

Borschevsky’s NHL career started off hot, but cooled off quickly — three years later, he was out of the NHL with 49 goals and 122 points to his name over 162 games played. But his name will forever be etched in Maple Leafs lore, thanks to his Game 7 overtime winner against the Red Wings.

54: Total number of goals scored, combined, in this series. Overall, Detroit outscored Toronto 30-24 but couldn’t come away with the win.

“It was funny, that whole series, the three games we lost, we lost badly and the four games we won were all one- [or two-] goal games and almost overtime in all of them,” Clark told Lead Off. “So, it was a weird series that way.”

127: Points tallied by Doug Gilmour during the 1992-93 regular season, his first full season with Toronto. That was a career-high for Gilmour, who led the Leafs in points that year and ranked seventh league-wide.

137: Points by Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman in 1992-93 — his most productive regular season since tallying a career-best 155 in 1988-89, and good for fourth league-wide. (Imagine, today, tallying 137 points in a season and only placing fourth…!)

?: The year we finally get to see a playoff series rematch between these two clubs

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