Isles 40 in 40 -- #32
For Islander fans now in their mid-20's to mid-30's, the Stanley Cups are trophies that were won only on videotape. For that generation, the 1993 Playoffs were as close as they got to seeing Lord Stanley return to Long Island.
The Isles finished the 1992-93 season 40-37-7 and in third place in the Patrick Division. This was the final year (until 2012-13) of playoffs within a division, so the third place Islanders drew the second place Capitals in the opening round.
The Capitals had been one of the Isles' favorite victims in the 80's, as the Isles defeated Washington in 1983-1984-1985 and 1987, erasing a 2-0 deficit in 1985 to win the best-of-5 and erasing a 3-1 deficit enroute to the Easter Epic in 1987.
The Islanders had blown a 1-0 lead in the third period to lose 3-1 in game 1. Some anonymous sort named Dale Hunter had the tying and winning goal.
Looking for a split in Landover, the Islanders had four separate leads in game two, but each time the Caps would even the game. Dale Hunter had three of the goals, including the tying goal with 3 seconds to play in regulation. A scoreless first overtime would follow and when the game got thru the second minute of overtime it became the second longest game in Islander history, coming six years and two days after (and in the same building) as the first. Brian Mullen would eventually be credited with the winning goal at 14:50 of overtime (on the Islanders' 61st shot) to send the series back to Long Island even at one game each.
Two nights later (April 22), it was the Islanders turn for the comeback. After Steve Thomas scored the game's first goal, Washington rallied for a 3-1 advantage midway through the third period. But Thomas' second goal of the series brought the Isles within one at 11:11 of the third. With 43 seconds to play, Pierre Turgeon tied the game to send it to overtime.
Unlike the two previous overtimes, both marathons, Ray Ferraro needed only 4:46 of overtime to convert a great pass from Benoit Hogue and give the Isles the series lead. It was the first time all season that the Islanders had won a game that they trailed after two periods.
After an off day, the Islanders did it again. The Capitals jumped all over the Isles early to take a 3-0 lead in game 4. But back came the Islanders. Vladimir Malakhov got the Isles on the board with a power play goal midway through the second period and then Travis Green and Patrick Flatley tallied 80 seconds apart in the third to send the game to overtime...again.
For the second time in the series, one overtime would not be enough to settle it. However, 5:40 into the second overtime, Ray Ferraro would decide it, off a feed from Claude Loiselle to give the Islanders a 3-1 lead in the series. It is to this day the longest game ever played at the Coliseum and one of three multiple overtime games ever played at the 'ol Barn.
Ferraro is the only Islander to win consecutive games with an overtime goal. But it might actually be three games. You see, there was a lot of controversy surrounding who scored the winning goal in game two in Washington. While it was credited to Brian Mullen, many people, including Ferraro think that it was his goal.
As Joe Lapointe wrote in the NY Times after Ferraro won Game 4:
"As Ferraro jumped for joy, spotlights illuminated him, confetti filled the air, his teammates mobbed him and Darius Kasparaitis threw his stick in the crowd as a souvenir for the roaring fans.
Two nights ago, Ferraro scored in the first overtime to give the Islanders another 4-3 victory in Game 3. Two days before that, in Game 2, he scored to give the Islanders a 5-4 victory in double overtime, although the official sheet gave Brian Mullen credit for the goal."Postscript: In April 2013 Ferraro tweeted me that he still thinks the goal is his:
The history books still show Boston's Mel Hill (1939) as the only player to score three overtime goals in a single series.
Judge for yourself: all three overtimes in the series are here:
The Caps won game five behind Al Iafrate's hat trick but the Isles would take game 6, and the series, with a Pierre Turgeon goal putting the Capitals away and sending Dale Hunter away for the first 21 games of the following season after his callous, cowardice act.
The Isles would go on to eliminate the Champion Penguins in the Patrick Division final (we'll have more on that series later in 40in40) before falling to Montreal, a team that also had overtime in their DNA in 1993. In fact, 1993 turned out to be the Year of Overtime. Of the 85 Stanley Cup games that spring, 28 went to overtime -- 12 more than any previous spring-- and still the record today.
The Islanders honored the 1992-93 team on October 29, 2011 at the Coliseum. Check out the video here:
In advance of the celebration, Ferraro talked about that wonderful spring with Chris Botta of Islanders Point Blank:
SNY.TV – RAY FERRARO REMEMBERS 1993br /Also: CB tracks down the missing playoff title banner
Ferraro would go on to have a four goal game on April 26th (Game 5), including a natural hat trick but the Isles would drop a 6-4 decision in Landover, setting the stag for Pierre Turgeon to end the Caps' season...and Dale Hunter to become all-time Islander enemy #1.
Ray Ferraro's contribution to that 1993 Spring will always be remembered by Islanders fans...and earns #32 on the Isles 40 in 40 list.
The List to Date:
#34 -- May, 1982-- Bossy leads the Isles to 3rd Stanley Cup
#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...