In honor of the Isles 40th anniversary year, I've put together a list of the Top 40 moments in club history. I'll go through them throughout the season, bit by bit.
December 23, 1978-- Bryan Trottier re-writes the record book
The Islanders were red-hot when the cross-town rival Rangers visited the Coliseum two nights before Christmas in 1978. They had lost only once since November 2nd and carried a sterling 20-4-7 record into the game.
Their offensive stars were in high gear. Mike Bossy was on his way to his club record 69-goal season and Bryan Trottier would go on to win the Hart Memorial Trophy as the League's Most Valuable Player and the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer (47-87-134, despite missing four games).
The first period that night was rather pedestrian. Trottier scored at 13:40 but Ron Greschner knotted the game for the Blueshirts 89 seconds later.
Everything changed in the second period.
Ron Dugay took a penalty at 1:08 and the Isles needed three seconds to take the lead as Trottier set up Bossy for a goal. The "Trio Grande", including Clark Gillies, scored again 2 1/2 minutes later with Trottier getting the tally. The crowd was barely done celebrating were Trottier earned an assist on a Garry Howatt tally. 3 Islander goals in the first 5:08 of the period, and three points in the session for Trottier.
After Stefan Persson made it 5-1 Islanders, Trottier set up Bossy for Bossy's 2nd goal of the session at 11:21.
Greschner would score again for the Rangers and heading to the final 90 seconds of the period it was still 6-2 but then Trottier scored again... twice... to give him a three goal, three assist period and the Isles an 8-2 lead after two.
Trottier was not done. Following a brawl that dismissed Mario Marois and Nick Fotiu for the night, Trottier recorded his 5th goal of the game at 7:38 of the third. Two Ranger goals were just window dressing in a 9-4 Islander win.
Trottier's night remains plastered across the record books 33 years later.
The 7 goals, 13 assists and 20 points the Isles tallied in the second period all remain club records. Trottier finished with five goals and three assists -- the first five-goal game and only eight-point game in club history.
It is Trottier's own accomplishments that still stand in the NHL record books. His 4 second period tallies share the league mark. His eight points in the game have been bested by only one player, in one game, in the history of the League (Darryl Sittler had a 10-point game in 1976). Only two players since World War II (and only eight in NHL history) have scored more goals in a game.
However, it is his six-point second period that deserves the most attention. After all, in the 95-year history of the NHL, it's only happened once. Not by Lemieux or by Gretzky, not by Howe, Hull, or Lafleur. It happened on December 23rd, 1978. By Bryan Trottier.
That's good enough for #38 on the Isles 40 in 40 list.
Postscript: This item was posted on October 20, 2011 -- the 10th anniversary of Trottier having his jersey retired by the Islanders in front of a sellout crowd at the Coliseum.
The List to Date:
#38 -- December 23, 1978 -- Trottier re-writes the record book
#39 -- February 11, 2011 -- Isles pound Pens 9-3
#40 -- Summer 2001 -- Isles hire Laviolette, trade for Peca and Yashin, claim Osgood.
March 16, 2010 -- Tavares' 5-point game.
February 13, 2011 -- Grab-Trick.
March 31, 1990 -- Uwe, Uwe.
Like any of these lists, my #2 may be your #20...
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick