Isles 40 in 40 -- #35
January 1981 was a memorable month in Islander history. Mike Bossy's chase of 50 goals in 50 games was a huge story not only in New York but all through Canada and the rest of the hockey world.
When the Toronto Maple Leafs reached the Coliseum on January 6th, Bossy had recorded 40 goals in the Isles' first 41 games so he needed ten goals over the next nine to reach 50 in 50.
If the Leafs' goal that night was to keep Bossy off the scoreboard, it worked. However, John Tonelli would have a most memorable night...and Mike Bossy would have a night unmatched in Islander history.
A Czech netminder named Jiri Crha was the Leafs' #1 goalie that season and Crha was in nets at the Coliseum that night as Tonelli and Bryan Trottier scored first period goals to give the Isles a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. Tonelli scored his second goal 1:43 into the second period and it looked like the Isles would carry the 3-0 lead into the 2nd intermission but Rick Vaive scored with 1 second to play to break Chico Resch's shutout.
1:53 into the third Tonelli completed his first professional hat trick by scoring the opening goal of the period, just like he had done in the first two. Toronto veteran Ron Ellis scored the 332nd (and final goal) of his career midway through the third and Vaive scored 6 minutes later to make it a one-goal game with 3:54 to play.
Last than a minute later, Tonelli tallied his 4th goal of the night and with Crha on the bench in the final minute, (the original) JT hit the empty net for his 5th goal.
With that goal, Tonelli tied Bryan Trottier's club record of 5 goals in a game, set in
#35 -- January 6,1981 -- With Bossy Chasing 50, Tonelli Lights Up the Leafs
#36 -- January 18, 1973 -- Expansion Isles Beat the Champs
#37 -- November 28, 1979 -- Billy Smith is credited with a goal
#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.
Like any of these lists, my #2 may be your #20...