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Friday, November 27, 2009

It was 30 years ago....

November 28, 1979

Saturday is the 30th anniversary of Billy Smith becoming the first goalie in NHL history to be credited with a goal. 

On November 28, 1979, the Isles trailed Colorado 4-3 in the third period when the Isles were called for a delayed penalty.  Colorado defensemen Rob Ramage put the puck into his own goal and the goal was credited to the last Islander to touch the puck, originally believed to be Dave Lewis. After the game, television replays showed that Smith was the last Islander to touch the puck.

A few things you might not know:

1. Smith didn't start the game; he replaced Chico Resch late in the 2nd period after the Rockies scored twice in a minutes' time. 
2. The goal tied the game and thus got Chico "off the hook".  Ron Delorme scored on the ensuing power play and the Rockies added two empty-netters for a 7-4 victory, thus making Smith the losing goaltender.
3. It was the first of two wins for the Colorado Rockies over the Islanders (also done on December 4, 1980; 2-19-3 overall).
4. The goalie who vacated the Colorado net was Bill McKenzie.
5. It was the final game of Billy Harris' 576 consecutive-game streak.  Harris had played in every game in club history to that point, but was scratched for the team's next game, in Edmonton, two night later.  Duane Sutter was brought in from Lethridge to replace Harris.
6.The loss dropped the Isles' record to 6-10-4 --the first time since Arbour's rookie season as coach (1973-74) that the Isles were 4 games under .500  The team wouldn't reach .500 until January 8th, but would sip from the Stanley Cup 4 1/2 months later.

 Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

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