The third greatest Colorado Avalanche of all-time was actually pretty great before he ever arrived in Denver.
Still, Patrick Roy did just as much (and in some cases, more) with the Avalanche in eight years as he did with the Montreal Canadiens in ten.
Roy was already on his way to becoming on of the greatest goaltenders of all-time with the Canadiens, making an impact in his rookie season by leading Les Habitants to a surprise Stanley Cup and taking home the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP.
By the time 1995 rolled around, Roy had amassed quite the resume: a second Cup and Conn Smythe in 1993, 289 wins, a trio of Vezina Trophies as the NHL’s best goaltender, four Jennings Trophies for fewest goals against in the regular season, and 70 playoff wins.
Things for Roy in Montreal took a turn for the worse in 1995. During a December 2, 1995 game against the Detroit Red Wings, Roy was left in net for Montreal’s worst home loss in franchise history, an 11-1 shellacking. He allowed nine goals on 26 shots and was jeered by the crowd whenever he made an easy save. Afterwards, he would tell coach Mario Tremblay that it would be his last game in Montreal. Four days later, Roy would be on his way to Colorado in “Le Trade”: Roy and Mike Keane (who was captain of the Habs at the time) to Colorado for Jocelyn Thibault, Martin Rucinsky, and Andrei Kovalenko. It wasn’t a great move at the time but in hindsight, is one of the most lop-sided trades in NHL history.
Roy would make them pay immediately. Following up a Vezina Trophy nomination with a Stanley Cup in the team’s first year in Denver, Roy immediately shoved it down the Habs’ throats. He also happened to shove it down Blackhawks star Jeremy Roenick’s throat during the playoffs. During the Western Conference Semis, Roy stopped Roenick on a breakaway in overtime. Roenick felt he was impeded and complained. The two exchanged jabs via the media before Roy dropped Roenick with the KO punch:
“I can’t really hear what Jeremy says, because I’ve got my two Stanley Cup rings plugging my ears.”
Game, set, match.
Over the next several seasons, Roy would continue his assault on the goaltending record books. He was also a major part of the Red Wings/Avalanche rivalry that was so heated, it resulted in a huge brawl and many tense moments:
After many near misses in the playoffs, Roy and the Avalanche completed “Mission 16W” – their quest to win Ray Bourque his first Stanley Cup – with Roy earning his record third Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
Roy also continued his assault on the record books and, by the time he’d played his final game in April of 2003, would own just about every relevant goaltending record in NHL history. Just a list of the credentials:
Most playoff games by a goaltender (247)
Most playoff wins by a goaltender (151)
First goalie to play 1,000 games (1029)
Most Conn Smythe Trophies (3)
Most wins all-time (551, later passed by Martin Brodeur)
When all was said and done, Patrick Roy had cemented himself as the greatest goaltender of all-time and as one of the greatest Colorado Avalanche of all-time.
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