April 20th, 1984 - In a second-round playoff series between the Montreal Canadiens and the Quebec Nordiques, the teams broke out into two separate bench-clearing brawls that heavily featured current head coach of the Washington Capitals, Dale Hunter. The brawls were especially fierce and bloody, and they took place on Good Friday, which forever immortalized them as the “Good Friday Massacre”.
“I hope not too many children in the province of Quebec were watching that hockey game tonight,” Nordiques head coach Michel Bergeron said after the game. “It’s very disappointing, it’s disgusting.”
The Habs twenty-eight years ago (as they are now) were a team that relied heavily on speed and finesse. With the exception of Chris Nilan and (to a lesser extent) Mike McPhee, the Habs were not exactly equipped for a bench brawl. They held their own, though, and headlines following the game would praise the Habs for their suprising strength and stamina. The two teams managed to finish the game without the 10 players who were ejected and, after the 252 penalty minutes were doled out, the Habs managed to make a heroic third-period comeback (from a 2-0 deficit) for the win.
It was the sixth game, and a series-winning one for the Habs as they would advance to the Prince of Wales Conference finals versus the New York Islanders. The Isles would go on to win that series and advance to the finals, where they’d eventually lose the cup to the Edmonton Oilers.
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