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Monday, October 14, 2013
Winless Sabres visit Coliseum
A winless Sabres team will visit the Coliseum Tuesday night: Buffalo dropped to 0-6-1 with their home-ice loss to Minnesota on Monday.
However, this will not be the first time the Isles will host a team winless in their first seven games of the season. It's happened at least once before, in 1973-74.
On October 25, 1973 the Minnesota North Stars, sporting an 0-3-4 record, visited the Isles (who were 0-3-3) and that game ended in a 1-1 tie, with future Hall of Fame goalies Billy Smith and Gump Worsley (without a mask) in nets. Tony Featherstone and Billy Harris had the only goals, both within a 2:56 span in the second period. Too bad there is not video of the third period -- Minnesota outshot the Isles 4-2 in the final session. The Stars would go 0-5-6 before defeating Chicago. (The 0-3-4 start remains the longest winless start in Isles history; Al Arbour's first win as Isles coach would come two nights later, against the Rangers)
The Isles did not face San Jose during their 11-game winless streak (0-7-4) in 1995-96 but did catch them shortly after. On November 14th, two late goals gave the Isles a 5-3 win (in their first game after sending Kirk Muller home), dropping the Sharks to 1-12-4.
The 1995-96 Sharks and 1973-74 North Stars are the only teams since expansion to open a season winless in their first 11.
The Isles did not face the 1943-44 Rangers (0-14-1; only team to ever start with worse than an 11-game winless streak) or the 1927-28 Pittsburgh Pirates (0-8-3).
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since January 21, 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick