Isles 40 in 40 -- #26
After eliminating the Los Angeles Kings in four games, the Isles headed to Boston for the 1980 Stanley Cup Quarter-Finals. What happened over those two nights in Boston set the tone for the series and let everyone know that nobody was going to push around the Islanders.
As Alan Hahn described in "Birth of a Dynasty",
"Nystrom, Howatt, Lane and Gillies were there. None had their sticks in their hands. None wore gloves. They all wore boxing gloves"The Islanders were ready for whatever the Big Bad Bruins might throw at them over the next 48 hours at the famed Boston Garden.
Game 1 was a relatively calm game. Scoreless through two periods, Peter McNab gave the Bruins the lead in the opening minute of the third but a Mike Milbury giveaway (ever hear of him?) led to a Garry Howatt goal three minutes later. The remaining 16+ minutes went scoreless, setting up overtime.
Overtime didn't last long. Clark Gillies made sure of that, beating Gerry Cheevers just 1:02 into the extra session. The Bruins were already furious with Gillies after a hit on Rick Middleton. The goal certainly didn't help their mood.
This was the first year of the 16-team playoffs. To save a few days, the NHL scheduled the series to begin with four games in five nights, so there was no day off between Game 1 and Game 2. For the pugilists, Game 2 became one of, if not the most, memorable game in Islander history.
Terry O'Reilly and Gillies battled early in the game. Then Wayne Cashman and Howatt. John Wensink and Nystrom were next, before an O'Reilly/Gillies redux with seven seconds to play... in the first period.
That was only preliminaries, however. What happened as the first period ended was epic. Check out how the whole thing starts -- yes, it's that same guy who would trade Roberto Luongo nearly two decades later.
Steve Albert and Ed Westfall called the game on WOR-TV, but I haven't found that version -- what is embedded below is the Bruins call on TV-38, with Hall of Famer Fred Cusick at the mic:
By the time it was done, 248 penalty minutes had been handed out...in the first period. It's a playoff record that still stands today. (254 minutes would be handed out in the game, setting a record that was later broken.)
As for the game, Bryan Trottier scored the only goal of the first period, but three times in the second period, Boston erased 1-goal Islander leads, tying the game at 3 after 40 minutes. The Bruins grabbed the lead at 10:51 of the third, but 15 seconds later Bob Nystrom tied the game, setting up yet another overtime.
This one lasted longer than the first... a whole 22 seconds longer. Bob Bourne was the hero, with an unassisted goal.
The Islanders had stood up to the Bruins physically...and had scored two overtime goals to boot.
Clark Gillies and Bob Bourne, whose children would later marry each other, proved to be the overtime heroes.
The Isles would go on to win the series in five games, winning all three games in Boston...the rest is history.
Moment #26 belongs to the back-to-back nights that the Isles Beat(Up) the Bruins.
The List to Date:
#26--April 16-17, 1980 -- Isles Beat (Up) Bruins
#27--January 2, 1986 -- Bossy Fastest to 500
#28--April 2, 1993-- Turgeon's 50th OTs Rangers at MSG
#29--October, 2001 -- Isles Start Laviolette Era 9-0-1-1
#30--November 23, 2009-- Roloson sets franchise record with 58 saves
#31--December 20, 1985 and January 28, 1986--Potvin Passes Orr.. Twice
#33 -- June 26, 2009 -- Islanders Select John Tavares
#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...