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Road to the Cup - May 24, 1980 -- Isles 5, Philadelphia 4 (OT) (Isles win best-of-7 series AND STANLEY CUP 4-2)

40 Years Ago Today By Eric Hornick Game 6 Isles 5,  Philadelphia 4 The Stanley Cup is ours!   Bob Nystrom converted a pass from John Tonelli...

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Road to the Cup - May 24, 1980 -- Isles 5, Philadelphia 4 (OT) (Isles win best-of-7 series AND STANLEY CUP 4-2)

40 Years Ago Today

By Eric Hornick

Game 6
Isles 5, Philadelphia 4

The Stanley Cup is ours!  

Bob Nystrom converted a pass from John Tonelli at the magical 7:11 mark of overtime as the Islanders defeated the Philadelphia  5-4  to win the Stanley Cup in 6 games.









 Reggie Leach had given the Flyers a 1-0 first period lead with a power play goal but Denis Potvin knotted the game with a power play tally of his own.

That set the stage for the most disputed part of the game – a goal by Duane Sutter after a missed off-side call by Leon Stickle. “I guess I blew it”, Stickle told a pool reporter.  Flyer fans will tell you that call cost them the Stanley Cup –they’ll usually conveniently forget that Brian Propp tied the game before the first period was over.

Mike Bossy broke the 2-2 tie with the Islanders’ second power play goal of the game at 7:46 of the middle session, and when Bob Nystrom beat Peter Peeters with just 14 seconds to play in the session, it seemed like the Islanders had the game in hand. 

Jim Robson was calling the game for Hockey Night in Canada and ironically noted, “Bob Nystrom will never score a bigger goal in his life.”  He was right – for about 90 minutes.

Give the Flyers credit though.  Philadelphia had finished first overall, in large part due to a 35-game unbeaten streak, and with their season on the line they managed to tie the game.  Bob Dailey scored just 1:47 into the third period and John Paddock scored 4:15 later to get the Broad Street Bullies, who were looking for their 3rd championship in 7 years, even.  Neither team could score in the rest of regulation and (after CBS showed 15 minutes of golf), we went to overtime.

40 years later, the Flyers are still waiting. 

Taken at the Coliseum during the 2014-15 season
It was 5:40pm on that 24th day of May, 1980.  At 7:11 of overtime, Tonelli’s pass to Nystrom made history as Bob Nystrom scored “The Goal” ….and the Islanders won the Stanley Cup.

This scene was recreated in the same corner i.n 2015, when John Tavares scored to beat Washington in overtime in game 3.

“It’s the greatest feeling in the world.”, Nystrom told Newsday’s Pat Calabria. “It’s everything it is supposed to be.  It’s everything you dream about.  It is.”

Others felt tears, of happiness.  “All I want to do is cry.  Cry, cry, cry, that’s all”, said Bob Bourne.




The first sentence on page 3 of Newsday ends this way: “We Are Long Island and Proud. Thank You.” 

Here's the most complete version of the CBC broadcast I can find:



This was the only game that aired on network television in the US in a span of nearly two decades -- Dan Kelly, Tim Ryan and Lou Nanne were at the microphone for CBS:

If you just want to see the winner, with Dan and Lou, it's right here:


Kelly also had the honors as the voice behind the 1980 Stanley Cup Film:




The Isles' win even merited a mention on Saturday Night Live (wonder whatever happened to that anchor?)




Nystrom's goal was a work of art.  Literally.



The historic boxscore:

First Period
1 - PHI : Reggie Leach 9 (Rick MacLeish, Bill Barber) (PP) 7:21 
2 - NYI : Potvin 6 (Bossy, Trottier) (PP) 11:56 
3 - NYI : Sutter (Gillies, Goring) (EV) 14:08 
4 - PHI : Brian Propp 5 (Paul Holmgren, Ken Linseman) (EV) 18:38 

Second Period
5 - NYI : Bossy 10 (Bourne, Trottier) (PP) 7:34 
6 - NYI : Nystrom 8 (Tonelli) (EV) 19:46 

Third Period
7 - PHI : Bob Dailey 4 (Ken Linseman, Paul Holmgren) (EV) 1:47 
8 - PHI : John Paddock 2 (Andre Dupont, Rick MacLeish) (EV) 6:02 

Overtime
9 - NYI : Nystrom 9 (Henning, Tonelli) (EV) 7:11 


The Mini-Skinny:
Six year ago today, I wrote a Skinny post on that day -- it included a picture of the scoresheet that a 16-year old future statistician had typed up about the game:


My complete post on that day is here:
The Skinny on May 24, 1980

Truth be told -- it was writing that post that gave birth to the It Happened at the Coliseum series, which inspired The Road to the Cup.

The Series:
Game 1: Isles 4, Philadelphia 3 (OT)
Game 2: Philadelphia 8, Isles 3
Game 3: Isles 6, Philadelphia 2
Game 4: Isles 5, Philadelphia 2
Game 5: Philadelphia 6, Isles 3
Game 6: Isles 5, Philadelphia 4 (OT)
(Isles win series, 4-2)

Overtime is Our Time!
1st round vs Los Angeles: Game 3 (W 4-3 Morrow 6:55)
Quarter-Finals vs Boston: Game 1 (W 2-1 Gillies 1:02)
Quarter-Finals vs Boston: Game 2 (W 5-4 Bourne 1:24)
Quarter-Finals vs Boston: Game 4 (L 4-3 O'Reilly 17:13)
Semi-Finals vs Buffalo: Game 2 (W 2-1 Nystrom 21:20)
Final vs Philadelphia: Game 1 (W 4-3 Potvin 4:07)
Final vs Philadelphia: Game 6 (W 5-4 Nystrom 7:11)

Series Leaders
Mike Bossy 4-7-11
Bryan Trottier 5-4-9
Denis Potvin 4-4-8
Clark Gillies 2-6-8

Isles Scoring Leaders
Bryan Trottier 12-17-29
Mike Bossy 10-13-23
Bob Bourne 10-10-20
Butch Goring 7-12-19
Denis Potvin 6-13-19
Bob Nystrom 9-9-18

Isles +/- Leaders 
Bob Lorimer +12
Denis Potvin +10
Garry Howatt +8
Butch Goring +8
Bryan Trottier +8

Isles Penalty Minute Leaders 
Gord Lane 83
Garry Howatt  84
Duane Sutter 74
Clark Gillies 63

Goalie Records
Billy Smith 15-4 2.70 GAA .903 Save Percentage
Chico Resch 0-2 5.61 GAA .804 Save Percentage

(A funny note about the engraving; each player's name is shown as "First Initial, Last Name"... except for Butch's, which is "First Initial, Nickname, Last Name"


In honor of the 30th anniversary (back in 2010), I shared a draft of the script that Jiggs McDonald used in 2006 to introduce the Stanley Cup champions.
Draft of Jiggs' script

So the Road to the Cup is complete. Long Island, NY had the Stanley Cup!  

And Finally....

The final words in this series belong not to me, nor to Tim Ryan or Steve Albert, who called most of the games that season (Jiggs would arrive the following fall): 

They belong to a radio broadcaster (who died in 2009) named Bob Lawrence,
who called the play-by-play for only a handful of Islanders games -- he was John Sterling's sidekick when Sterling did the play-by-play for three seasons and then mainly served as the host of radio broadcasts that were simulcasts of the TV broadcast.  With CBS televising Game 6, the Isles produced their own radio broadcast and it was Lawrence (along with Jean Potvin) who had the call.

Here's what he said:


  

Friday, May 22, 2020

Road to the Cup - May 22, 1980 -- Philadelphia 6, Isles 3 (Isles lead best-of-7 series 3-2)

40 Years Ago Tonight

By Eric Hornick

Game 5
Philadelphia 6, Isles 3
Rick MacLeish scored twice as the Flyers earned a 6-3 win in Philadelphia in game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.  Stefan Persson had two goals for the Islanders, both on the power play.  
The Flyers' win cut the Islanders' lead in the series to 3-games-to-2.

Persson's first goal had given the Isles the lead after 20 minutes but the Flyers took the lead in the middle period, despite a Bryan Trottier tally. Mike Busniuk scored 48 seconds after Trottier to give the Flyers the advantage. 

"It was a funny play," said Busniuk. "There were three of us going and I was lucky to pick up the pass after it went off Paul Holmgren's skate." At any rate, Busniuk was behind the goal and working his way to the front at the post to Smith's right. "Holmgren hollered and the defenseman (Gord Lane) went to him. There was no one to pass to, so I just took a shot. I don't know how or where it went in."

When MacLeish and Brian Propp scored 2:50 apart in the third period, the Flyers were basically assured a trip back to Long Island.

Steve Jacobson's Newsday story had an interesting title: "Flyers Bring Up the Old Choke Tag", referring to the Isles' problems the previous spring, which were mentioned by Flyer coach Pat Quinn. "Who was it that choked (when the Flyers were beaten in 5 by the Rangers in 79)", asked Garry Howatt.  "I will be happy to shake hands with Mr. Quinn on Saturday."


 The scoring:

1st Period
10:58 NYI PP Stefan Persson (4) Mike Bossy

2nd Period
01:45 PHI Bobby Clarke (8) Behn Wilson, Reggie Leach
05:55 PHI Rick MacLeish (8)
16:16 NYI Bryan Trottier (12) Mike Bossy, Stefan Persson
17:04 PHI Mike Busniuk (2) Brian Propp, Ken Linseman

3rd Period
09:43 PHI Rick MacLeish (9) Mel Bridgman
12:33 PHI PP Brian Propp (4) Ken Linseman, Paul Holmgren
14:57 NYI PP Stefan Persson (5) Butch Goring, Denis Potvin
17:26 PHI Paul Holmgren (10) Ken Linseman
 
The Series:
Game 1: Isles 4, Philadelphia 3 (OT)
Game 2: Philadelphia 8, Isles 3
Game 3: Isles 6, Philadelphia 2
Game 4: Isles 5, Philadelphia 2
Game 5: Philadelphia 6, Isles 3
Game 6: May 24 at Isles (if necessary)
Game 7: May 27 at Philadelphia (if necessary)
(Isles lead series, 3-2)

Mini-Skinny:
The Isles outshot Philadelphia 38-31... Billy Smith fell to 14-4 in the playoffs while Pete Peeters earned the win ....Bryan Trottier's goal was his 27th point of the playoffs, tying the then-record... Stefan Persson's second power play goal didn't have much to do with the outcome, but it was the record-setting 13th scored by the Isles in the series...After going 2-0 in Los Angeles, 3-0 in Boston and 2-1 in Buffalo, the Isles fell to 1-2 in Philadelphia (still with the potential for a Game 7 in Philly (spoiler alert - it was not needed)).

Overtime is Our Time!
1st round vs Los Angeles: Game 3 (W 4-3 Morrow 6:55)
Quarter-Finals vs Boston: Game 1 (W 2-1 Gillies 1:02)
Quarter-Finals vs Boston: Game 2 (W 5-4 Bourne 1:24)
Quarter-Finals vs Boston: Game 4 (L 4-3 O'Reilly 17:13)
Semi-Finals vs Buffalo: Game 2 (W 2-1 Nystrom 21:20)
Final vs Philadelphia: Game 1 (W 4-3 Potvin 4:07)

Isles Scoring Leaders thru 20 Games
Bryan Trottier 12-15-27
Mike Bossy 9-12-21
Bob Bourne 10-9-19
Butch Goring 7-11-18
Denis Potvin 5-13-18
Bob Nystrom 7-9-16

Isles +/- Leaders thru 20 Games
Bob Lorimer +11
Denis Potvin +9
Garry Howatt +9
Butch Goring +8
Bryan Trottier +8

Isles Penalty Minute Leaders thru 20 Games
Gord Lane 83
Garry Howatt  82
Duane Sutter 74
Clark Gillies 56

So the Flyers were back in the series; five years earlier the Isles had come back from (3-0 and) 3-1 deficits to force a Game 7. The Isles were determined to make sure that didn't happen again. The end of the Road to the Cup was less than 48 hours away.

We'll finish the story on Sunday, the 40th anniversary of game 6.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Road to the Cup - May 19, 1980 -- Isles 5, Philadelphia 2 (Isles lead best-of-7 series 3-1)

40 Years Ago Tonight
By Eric Hornick

Game 4
Isles 5, Philadelphia 2
The Islanders moved within one game of the Stanley Cup, with a 5-2 win over the Flyers in game 4 of the 1980 Final.

Unlike game 3, the Isles would score only once on the power play – Mike Bossy gave the Isles a 1-0 lead with a power play marker; Butch Goring also scored in the opening session to give the Isles a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes.

John Paddock (who will play an important role in Game 6) scored early in the second period to cut the Islanders’ advantage in half entering the third period.

Bryan Trottier restored the two-goal advantage at 6:06 of the third period with his 11th goal of the postseason, but Ken Linseman temporarily brought Philly within one at 11:53.  It took just 42 seconds for Bob Nystrom to restore the Isles two-goal advantage, and 1:33 after that Clark Gillies gave the Isles the final margin of victory.

Here's video of the game, from Hockey Night in Canada:


It was very warm on Long Island and it affected the ice.  "It was so humid out there; it was like skating in hard snow", Coach Arbour told Parton Keese of the NY Times.

Three days later, the Islanders would head into Philadelphia for their first opportunity to win the Stanley Cup.

The scoring:


First Period

1 - NYI : Bossy 9 (Gillies, Trottier) (PP) 7:23
2 - NYI : Goring 7 (Gillies, Sutter) (EV) 13:06

Second Period
3 - PHI : Paddock 1 (MacLeish, Wilson) (EV) 1:35

Third Period
4 - NYI : Trottier 11 (Howatt) (EV) 6:06
5 - PHI : Linseman 4 (Propp, Gorence) (EV) 11:53
6 - NYI : Nystrom 7 (Bourne) (EV) 12:35
7 - NYI : Gillies 6 (Sutter) (EV) 14:08

The Series:
Game 1: Isles 4, Philadelphia 3 (OT)
Game 2: Philadelphia 8, Isles 3
Game 3: Isles 6, Philadelphia 2
Game 4: Isles 5, Philadelphia 2
Game 5: May 22 at Philadelphia 
Game 6: May 24 at Isles (if necessary)
Game 7: May 27 at Philadelphia (if necessary)
(Isles lead series, 2-1)

Mini-Skinny:
The Isles were outshot by Philadelphia 36-27... Billy Smith improved to 14-3 in the playoffs (extending his own NHL record) while Pete Peeters took the loss ....The Isles had tallied 11 power play goals in the first four games (the record at the time was 12)...It was the Isles' 3rd straight win at home, after going only 3-3 in their first six playoff games.

Series Leaders:
Denis Potvin 4-3-7
Mike Bossy 3-4-7
Clark Gillies 2-5-7
Bobby Clarke 3-3-6

Overtime is Our Time!
1st round vs Los Angeles: Game 3 (W 4-3 Morrow 6:55)
Quarter-Finals vs Boston: Game 1 (W 2-1 Gillies 1:02)
Quarter-Finals vs Boston: Game 2 (W 5-4 Bourne 1:24)
Quarter-Finals vs Boston: Game 4 (L 4-3 O'Reilly 17:13)
Semi-Finals vs Buffalo: Game 2 (W 2-1 Nystrom 21:20)
Final vs Philadelphia: Game 1 (W 4-3 Potvin 4:07)

Isles Scoring Leaders thru 19 Games
Bryan Trottier 11-15-26
Bob Bourne 10-9-19
Mike Bossy 9-10-19
Denis Potvin 5-12-17
Butch Goring 7-10-17
Bob Nystrom 7-9-16

Isles +/- Leaders thru 19 Games
Bob Lorimer +12
Denis Potvin +10
Garry Howatt +9
Butch Goring +9

Isles Penalty Minute Leaders thru 19 Games
Gord Lane 81
Duane Sutter 77
Garry Howatt 74
Clark Gillies 54

The Isles had themselves a 3-1 series lead and the Stanley Cup would meet the Islanders at the Spectrum.  The end of the Road to the Cup was so close you could almost sip champagne.  Fourteen wins down; only one to get.

We'll pick up the story on Friday, the 40th anniversary of game 5.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Road to the Cup - May 17, 1980 -- Isles 6, Philadelphia 2 (Isles lead best-of-7 series 2-1)

40 Years Ago Tonight
By Eric Hornick

Game 3
Isles 6, Philadelphia 2
For the first time in team history, the Islanders hosted a Stanley Cup Final game, and the fans were treated to a "power"-ful display by the home team. The Isles scored 5 power play goals (3 in the first period) and cruised to a 6-2 win over the Flyers and a 2-1 lead in the first Stanley Cup Final game ever played on Long Island.  Denis Potvin scored twice and added two assists – all on the power play as the Isles converted on their first five power plays; at the time of their fifth goal they were 10-18 on the power play.

Here's the entire game (from TV-29 in Philadelphia) with the legendary voice of the Flyers, Gene Hart and his partner Bobby Taylor. You'll hear Gene's amazement with the success of the Islander power play.





The Scoring:

1st Period
02:38 NYI SH Lorne Henning (3) Bob Bourne
07:43 NYI PP Denis Potvin (4)
13:04 NYI PP Bryan Trottier (10) Mike Bossy, Denis Potvin
14:29 NYI PP Mike Bossy (8) Clark Gillies, Denis Potvin

2nd Period
15:41 NYI PP Clark Gillies (5) Stefan Persson
17:25 NYI PP Denis Potvin (5) Stefan Persson, Mike Bossy

3rd Period
09:48 PHI Bobby Clarke (7) Reggie Leach, Mike Busniuk
11:32 PHI Mike Busniuk (1) Mel Bridgman

The Series:
Game 1: Isles 4, Philadelphia 3 (OT)
Game 2: Philadelphia 8, Isles 3
Game 3: Isles 6, Philadelphia 2
Game 4: May 19 at Isles
Game 5: May 22 at Philadelphia (if necessary)
Game 6: May 24 at Isles (if necessary)
Game 7: May 27 at Philadelphia (if necessary)
(Isles lead series, 2-1)

Mini-Skinny:
The Isles outshot Philadelphia 40-32... Billy Smith improved to 13-3 in the playoffs while Phil Myre took the loss in relief....The five power play goals set the club record (matched in the Bossy 50-in-50 regular season game the following year); it was only the second time in NHL playoff history that a team scored five power play goals... The three power play goals in the first period also set a club playoff record (tied the following year)...Denis Potvin's two goals was his second multi-goal game of the playoffs (tying the then-NHL record); he is the only NHL defenseman with three multi-goal games in a single playoff (done the following year).  Denis would finish with 11 multi-goal games in the playoffs (still the NHL record)....It was also the second of four playoff games with at least four points for Potvin, who was the first player in NHL history to record four such games (since broken by Paul Coffey)...Lorne Henning opened the scoring with his third goal of the playoffs, all shorthanded.  It was the final playoff goal of his career...but there would be one more assist.  It was the 7th shorthanded goal scored by the Isles in the playoffs, establishing a new NHL record...With the Isles in command the Flyers tried to rough things up in the second period as Mke Busniuk fought Bob Nystrom and Jack McIlhargey fought Gord Lane.  In all, there were 102 penalty minutes (52 to the Isles)...The Isles had tallied 10 power play goals in the first three games (the record at the time was 12); in their history they have never scored 10 power play goals in three consecutive regular season games.

The Legend of Fort Never Lose
Coming into this game, the Isles were a rather pedestrian 4-3 at the Coliseum, having done most of their damage on the road (setting a then-record with 8 wins).  John Tonelli was quoted this way, when asked abut the Flyers' regular season struggles at the Coliseum: "It makes no difference at all; there is no home ice advantage in the Stanley Cup playoffs."  That was about to change, as this was the second game of a 31-4 stretch in playoff games on Coliseum ice.

Overtime is Our Time!
1st round vs Los Angeles: Game 3 (W 4-3 Morrow 6:55)
Quarter-Finals vs Boston: Game 1 (W 2-1 Gillies 1:02)
Quarter-Finals vs Boston: Game 2 (W 5-4 Bourne 1:24)
Quarter-Finals vs Boston: Game 4 (L 4-3 O'Reilly 17:13)
Semi-Finals vs Buffalo: Game 2 (W 2-1 Nystrom 21:20)
Final vs Philadelphia: Game 1 (W 4-3 Potvin 4:07)

Isles Scoring Leaders thru 18 Games
Bryan Trottier 10-14-24
Bob Bourne 10-8-18
Mike Bossy 8-10-18
Denis Potvin 5-12-17
Butch Goring 6-10-16
Bob Nystrom 6-9-15

Isles +/- Leaders thru 18 Games
Bob Lorimer +12
Denis Potvin +10
Garry Howatt +8
Butch Goring +7

Isles Penalty Minute Leaders thru 18 Games
Gord Lane 81
Duane Sutter 77
Garry Howatt 74
Clark Gillies 54

The Isles had themselves a 2-1 series lead; the end of the Road to the Cup was in sight.  Thirteen wins down; only two to get.

We'll pick up the story on Tuesday, the 40th anniversary of game 4.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Road to the Cup - May 15, 1980 -- Philadelphia 8, Isles 3 (Best-of-7 series is tied 1-1)

40 Years Ago Tonight
By Eric Hornick

Game 2
Philadelphia 8, Isles 3

The Philadelphia Flyers had stormed through the league in the regular season and were not about to squander their chance at a Stanley Cup without a fight.  After Butch Goring scored the game's first goal, the Flyers scored 8 of the next 9 and rolled to an 8-3 win over the Isles to even the Stanley Cup Final at 1-1,  

Paul Holmgren recorded a hat trick for the Flyers, scoring once in each period; he became the first American to record a hat trick in a Stanley Cup Final game. Special teams continued to play a big role, as the the Flyers scored three PPG's and the Isles scored two.

The game was not without it's nasty points as Gord Lane and Bill Barber received coincidental majors for high sticking, and Behn Wilson was ejected after interceding in a fight between Duane Sutter and Mel Bridgman in the third.  In all, 84 penalty minutes were assessed, including 50 to the Flyers.  Al Arbour told Parton Keese of the NY Times, "We'll give it right back to them if that's what they want.  If they're going to be spear carriers, they're going to get speared right back, if the ref won't call it."

The series was even, and the Flyers knew that they would play at least one more game in Philadelphia (Game 5).   

The Scoring:
1st Period
03:23 NYI Butch Goring (5) Clark Gillies, Duane Sutter
07:22 PHI PP Paul Holmgren (7) Brian Propp, Bob Dailey
08:37 PHI Bob Kelly (1)         Behn Wilson, Bobby Clarke
17:23 PHI Bobby Clarke (6) Jimmy Watson, Bill Barber

2nd Period
01:06 PHI Bill Barber (12) Bobby Clarke, Reggie Leach
03:28 NYI PP Bryan Trottier (9) Mike Bossy
04:13 PHI PP Paul Holmgren (8) Ken Linseman, Bill Barber
15:47 PHI PP Brian Propp (3) Bob Dailey, Bobby Clarke

3rd Period
01:40 PHI Tom Gorence (3) Bob Dailey, Mel Bridgman
04:19 PHI Paul Holmgren (9) Ken Linseman, Behn Wilson
15:00 NYI PP Butch Goring (6) Bob Bourne, Stefan Persson

The Series:
Game 1: Isles 4, Philadelphia 3 (OT)
Game 2: Philadelphia 8, Isles 3
Game 3: May 17 at Isles
Game 4: May 19 at Isles
Game 5: May 22 at Philadelphia (if necessary)
Game 6: May 24 at Isles (if necessary)
Game 7: May 27 at Philadelphia (if necessary)
(Isles lead series, 1-0)

Mini-Skinny:

The Isles were outshot by Philadelphia 31-23.... Billy Smith, who was removed after 40 minutes, fell to 12-3 in the playoffs while Pete Peeters improved to 7-3....Chico Resch played the final 20 minutes in his last playoff appearance as an Isle; Chico would not play in another playoff game until 1986 (as a Flyer)...The eight goals allowed tied the club playoff record (set in 1975 vs. NYR); the record stands today...It was the second hat trick allowed by the Isles in the 1980 playoffs (Gilbert Perreault had the other) and the third allowed in club history (Rick MacLeish in 1975 for Philadelphia); some guy named Wayne Gretzky was the only other opponent with a playoff hat trick against the Isles in the Cup era.

Overtime is Our Time!

1st round vs Los Angeles: Game 3 (W 4-3 Morrow 6:55)
Quarter-Finals vs Boston: Game 1 (W 2-1 Gillies 1:02)
Quarter-Finals vs Boston: Game 2 (W 5-4 Bourne 1:24)
Quarter-Finals vs Boston: Game 4 (L 4-3 O'Reilly 17:13)
Semi-Finals vs Buffalo: Game 2 (W 2-1 Nystrom 21:20)
Final vs Philadelphia: Game 1 (W 4-3 Potvin 4:07)

Isles Scoring Leaders thru 17 Games
Bryan Trottier 9-14-23
Bob Bourne 10-7-17
Butch Goring 6-10-16
Mike Bossy 7-8-15
Bob Nystrom 6-9-15

Isles +/- Leaders thru 17 Games
Bob Lorimer +12
Denis Potvin +9
Garry Howatt +9
Butch Goring +8

Isles Penalty Minute Leaders thru 17 Games
Duane Sutter 70
Garry Howatt 65
Gord Lane 64
Clark Gillies 50

The series was even but the Isles had earned a split in Philadelphia and were heading home for game 3 and 4.The Isles would not score an even strength goal in game 3, but could they find another way? We'll pick up the story on Sunday, the 40th anniversary of game 3.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Road to the Cup - May 13, 1980 -- Isles 4 , Philadelphia 3 OT (Isles lead best-of-7 series 1-0)

40 Years Ago Tonight

By Eric Hornick

Game 1
Isles 4, Philadelphia 3 (OT)

Five years to the date of their first playoff elimination, the Isles returned to Philadelphia for the first Stanley Cup Final game in their history.  Denis Potvin scored a power play goal 4:07 into overtime as the Isles took a 1 game to 0 lead in the series with a 4-3 victory. The teams traded goals in each of the three regulation periods before Potvin potted the game winner with just 1 second remaining on a penalty to Joe Watson.  It was the first power play goal ever scored in a Stanley Cup Final overtime.

"How would it look if we got a power play in overtime and didn't score", asked John Tonelli, who assisted on the goal.  A goal that came in the very last second of a power play that Stefan Persson described as "Terrible...just terrible".
You can watch the entire game as shown on Hockey Night in Canada here:

or just catch the highlights here:



The Scoring:
1st Period
10:31 PHI Mel Bridgman (2)
12:02 NYI PP Mike Bossy (7) Bryan Trottier

2nd Period
02:20 NYI Denis Potvin (2) Clark Gillies, Butch Goring
17:08 PHI PP Bobby Clarke (5) Bill Barber, Reggie Leach

3rd Period
13:10 PHI Rick MacLeish (7) Paul Holmgren
16:18 NYI PP Stefan Persson (3) Mike Bossy, Denis Potvin

Overtime
04:07 NYI PP Denis Potvin (3) John Tonelli, Bob Nystrom

The Series:
Game 1: Isles 4, Philadelphia 3 (OT)
Game 2: May 15 at Philadelphia
Game 3: May 17 at Isles
Game 4: May 20 at Isles
Game 5: May 22 at Philadelphia (if necessary)
Game 6: May 24 at Isles (if necessary)
Game 7: May 27 at Philadelphia (if necessary)
(Isles lead series, 1-0)

Mini-Skinny:

The Isles outshot Philadelphia 36-33....  Billy Smith improved to 12-2 in the playoffs while Pete Peeters fell to 6-3 in his first game since game 1 vs. Minnesota... The Isles improved to 5-1 in overtime in the 1980 playoffs (spoiler alert - they would win one more); it was the first time an NHL team had won five games in a single playoff...The Isles also improved to 8-1 on the road in the 1980 playoffs. The eight road wins extended their NHL record (since broken) and remains the club record to this day...This was the first of two games the Isles have played that were decided at 4:07 of overtime; Martin St. Louis sent the Isles into an 18-month summer in April 2004...Denis Potvin's goal, his second of two career OT winners (1979 vs NYR - game 2), was the Isles second power play goal of the game.  The Isles power play would emerge as a dominant force in this series, tallying 15 times to set the NHL record for a series (tied in 1990-91 by Minnesota in the Division Semi-Finals vs. Chicago)...Three of the Isles' four goals were scored by defensemen...John Tonelli not only set-up Potvin for the winning goal, he also drew the power play when he was held by Jim Watson...Potvin had actually scored the game's first goal, but it went into his own net (and was credited to Philadelphia's Mel Bridgeman).

Overtime is Our Time!

1st round vs Los Angeles: Game 3 (W 4-3 Morrow 6:55)
Quarter-Finals vs Boston: Game 1 (W 2-1 Gillies 1:02)
Quarter-Finals vs Boston: Game 2 (W 5-4 Bourne 1:24)
Quarter-Finals vs Boston: Game 4 (L 4-3 O'Reilly 17:13)
Semi-Finals vs Buffalo: Game 2 (W 2-1 Nystrom 21:20)
Final vs Philadelphia: Game 1 (W 4-3 Potvin 4:07)

Isles Scoring Leaders thru 16 Games
Bryan Trottier 8-14-22
Bob Bourne 10-6-16
Bob Nystrom 6-9-15

Isles +/- Leaders thru 16 Games
Bob Lorimer +14
Denis Potvin +11
Garry Howatt +9
Butch Goring/John Tonelli +8

Isles Penalty Minute Leaders thru 16 Games
Garry Howatt 63
Gord Lane 57
Duane Sutter 53
Clark Gillies 50
The Isles had won the opening game of the fourth straight series and would look to grab a stranglehold on the series two night later. We'll pick up the story on Friday, the 40th anniversary of  game 2.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Road to the Cup - May 10, 1980 -- Isles 5, Buffalo 2 (Isles win best-of-7 series 4-2)

40 Years Ago Tonight

By Eric Hornick

Game 6
Isles 5, Buffalo 2
The Isles advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in their history with a 5-2 win over Buffalo, as they clinched their semi-final series, 4 games to 2.

Gilbert Perreault had given the Sabres a 2-0 first period lead with a pair of goals -- it gave Perreault five goals in the last three periods at the Coliseum and six goals in the series – all at the Coliseum.  But those were the last goals that Buffalo would score in the series.

John Tonelli got one of the goals back, at 8:08 of the first period and the Isles got even on a power play goal by Mike Bossy 31 seconds into the second period.

Bob Lorimer played his college hockey
 at Michigan Tech (MTU)
“We were a little too nervous at the start, and the crowd’s noise didn’t help us get going in the right direction. We were too hyped up already”, Mike Bossy told the NY Times Parton Keese.

So who got what turned out to be the series-clinching goal?  It turned out to be Bob Lorimer, whose first goal of the playoffs made it 3-2 midway through the second period.  “I went into the slot, and Butchie (Goring) got the puck to me. I had a foot of open net, and I quickly put it in.”  It was one of three playoff goals Lorimer scored for the Isles.  

Duane Sutter gave the Isles some insurance at 11:50 of the third period and Bob Bourne completed the scoring with a shorthanded, empty net tally. 

Billy Smith finished with 22 saves as the Isles eliminated the Sabres for the third time in five years. Smith recorded all 12 wins in those three series; he finished his career with more playoff wins against only one opponent – the Rangers (18-5).

Here's a condensed version of the CBC broadcast:


The Scoring:
1st Period
02:26 BUF Gilbert Perreault (9) Bill Hajt, Richie Dunn
06:53 BUF Gilbert Perreault (10) John Van Boxmeer
08:08 NYI John Tonelli (7) Duane Sutter, Stefan Persson

2nd Period
00:31 NYI PP Mike Bossy (6) Bob Bourne, Bryan Trottier
11:11 NYI Bob Lorimer (1) Bob Bourne, Butch Goring
3rd Period
11:50 NYI Duane Sutter (2) Clark Gillies, Butch Goring
19:00 NYI SH, EN Bob Bourne (10)

The Series:Game 1: Isles 4, Buffalo 2
Game 2: Isles 2, Buffalo 1 (OT)
Game 3: Isles 7, Buffalo 4
Game 4: Buffalo 7, Isles 4
Game 5: Buffalo 2, Isles 0
May 10 - Isles 5, Buffalo 2
(Isles win series, 4-2)

Mini-Skinny:

The Isles outshot Buffalo 31-24....  Billy Smith improved to 11-2 in the playoffs while Bob Sauve fell to 6-2... Bob Bourne's team-leading 10th goal was the Isles' 6th shorthanded goal of the 1980 playoffs. The six shorthanded goals tie the then-NHL record set the previous year by the Rangers...Gilbert Perreault led the Sabres  in the series with six goals and eight points (6-2-8); Bob Bourne led the Isles with five goals and seven points (5-2-7). Bourne already had ten goals, just five shy of the 15 he had scored in the regular season.  Seven of the 10 were special teams tallies.  It was the only time in his playoff career he scored at least 10 goals....Bob Lorimer's winning goal was the only one he scored in the 1980 playoffs and the only winning goal of his playoff career.  Lorimer would scored one more goal the following post-season before being dealt to the Colorado Rockies for a draft pick. The Isles used that pick to select Pat LaFontaine!

Overtime is Our Time!

1st round vs LA: Game 3 (W 4-3 Morrow 6:55)
Quarter-Finals vs Bos: Game 1 (W 2-1 Gillies 1:02)
Quarter-Finals vs Bos: Game 2 (W 5-4 Bourne 1:24)
Quarter-Finals vs Bos: Game 4 (L 4-3 O'Reilly 17:13)
Semi-Finals vs Buf: Game 2 (W 2-1 Nystrom 21:20)

Isles Scoring Leaders thru 14 GamesBryan Trottier 8-13-21
Bob Bourne 10-6-16
Bob Nystrom 6-8-14

Isles +/- Leaders thru 14 GamesBob Lorimer +14
Denis Potvin +11
Garry Howatt +9
Butch Goring/John Tonelli +8

Isles Penalty Minute Leaders thru 14 GamesGarry Howatt 63
Gord Lane 57
Clark Gillies 50
Duane Sutter 46

In their fourth try, the Isles had finally advanced to the Stanley Cup Final.  Waiting for them were the Philadelphia Flyers, who had eliminated Minnesota in five games.

The 1979-80 Flyers had had a tremendous season, one which started with a 35-game unbeaten streak (25-0-10). The teams would meet in the playoffs for the first time since the 1975 Semi-Finals. We'll pick up the story on Wednesday, the 40th anniversary of the first Stanley Cup Final game in Isles history.