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Friday, December 30, 2011

Isles 40 in 40 -- #29

Isles 40 in 40 -- #29

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.

October, 2001 -- Isles Start Laviolette Era 9-0-1-1

If you have been watching HBO's 24/7 Countdown to the Winter Classic these past three weeks then you have had a chance to see former Islander coach Peter Laviolette, and perhaps reflect back on his first eleven games as Islander coach, 11 games that led to, as Howie Rose once described it, "The Islanders Renaissance Year".

After an emotional pre-season due to the tragedies of 9-11, the Islanders opened the season with a four-game road trip.  Mark Parrish scored twice in the third for a season-opener come-from behind win in Florida;  Chris Osgood blanked the Panthers in game 2.  After the Isles rallied from a 3-1 deficit for a 6-3 win in Pittsburgh, Parrish's hat trick gave him eight goals in four games as the Isles beat the Devils in New Jersey.

With Islander Country going crazy, the team returned home and had a pair of third period leads before Luc Robitaille tied the game and Steve Yzerman beat them in overtime.  The first goal at home that season was scored by Oleg Kvasha.  Listen to Howie!

The Isles rebounded to defeat Carolina three times in a four-game stretch.  Who can forget Radek Martinek's celebration after his overtime goal completed a sweep of a home-and-home with the Panthers? The Isles FINALLY raised Bryan Trottier's number to the Coliseum rafters before a 2-2 tie with San Jose extended the streak to 6-0-1-1.  Vincent Damphousse's second goal of the game with just seconds to play earned the deadlock.

Consecutive overtime wins over Carolina and Dallas then followed, with Mariusz Czerkawski and Michael Peca scoring the winners;

Here's Peca's goal:

Czerkawski then had the winning goal in a 3-2 win over Florida that closed out October with a 9-0-1-1 record.

Some of the notes I wrote after that 9-0-1-1 start:
  • The Isles raise their record to 9-0-1-1. It’s the best 11-game start in Isles history [18 points in first 10 in 81-82 and 82-83.] 
  • It’s the first 9-win month since February, 1994 and the first 20 point month since the Stanley Cup Champs went 9-3-2 in March, 1984.
  • The Isles have 20 points in 11 games, their best 11 game stretch since Dec 28, 1989-Jan 19, 1990 [a win, a loss and a 9 game win streak].
  • The Isles’ 9th win last year came in their 30th game on December 15 vs. Toronto. Two seasons ago, they had only 9 wins in October-November-December COMBINED.
  • The Isles’ 10th win last season came on December 19 vs. Carolina…in their 32th game.  It was their last win before Christmas.
  • Isles earned at least a point in all 5 October home games [3-0-1-1].  It’s the first time since October, 1982 they’ve opened a season by getting a point in each October home game.
The Islanders would go on to make their first playoff appearance since 1994 and a memorable playoff series with Toronto.  (Shawn Bates will get his own moment from that series later in this series.)
Relive highlights of the season here:

 (Note the statistician credit 4 minutes in :) )

Laviolette would coach the Islanders only two seasons and then move on to coach Carolina to a Stanley Cup before joining the Flyers.  His two years with the Isles will never be forgotten, and his first 11 games earn him #29 on the Isles 40 in 40 list.
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

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