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Thursday, November 13, 2014

It Happened at the Coliseum … on NOVEMBER 13th

35 years ago tonight (1979):  There are two words that will always make an Islander fan smile, and a Ranger fan cringe: DOUBLE CHILI.

In their first meeting since the Rangers upset the Isles in the previous season’s playoffs, the Islanders were below .500 (5-6-3) when they entertained the Rangers.

In those days, the Islanders needed six goals to send their fans to Wendy's the next day for Chili. The opening period played out even as Steve Vickers scored first for the Rangers, midway through the first but Billy Harris and Bryan Trottier responded to give the Isles the lead later in the session.  A Don Maloney goal tied the game heading into the first intermission.

The second period though was all Islanders. Trottier scored three minutes in and when Mike Bossy and Denis Potvin scored 12 seconds apart, the rout was on. Wayne Merrick scored the Chili goal 7 1/2 minutes into the period and by the time the session ended Billy Harris (shorthanded) and Stefan Persson had made it 8-2 in favor of the Isles. As it so happens, a Wendy's executive was at the game and over the PA came the famed announcement that if the Isles reached 10 goals it would be Double Chili for all.  All except Phil Esposito, that is, who made an obscene gesture upon hearing the announcement. Midway through the third period, Garry Howatt and Denis Potvin scored 2:50 apart, raising the Isles' total to ten, and the Coliseum scoreboard told the story.

A few years ago, a highlights package was put together on YouTube.  The video quality is actually quite good, considering the age.  The highlights are from the MSG broadcast, with the late Jim Gordon and the late Bill Chadwick at the microphones. (Somewhat ironically, the package runs 7:11)

Postscript: from longtime Isles' voice Howie Rose: "Don't forget my initiation upon taking the Islander job (in 1995)....Once the deal was done, Barbara took me to the Wendy's on Jericho Turnpike off of Brush Hollow Road for a heaping double bowl of Chili. It's actually much better than Skyline Chili in Cincinnati which somehow has achieved iconic status."

The chili promo was revived at the Coliseum for a period of time about 5 years ago.
However, the Isles needed only three goals, not six.

Also on this date: (1996) – Bryan McCabe scored the winning goal 45 seconds into overtime as the Islanders defeated Vancouver 5-4. Ziggy Palffy and Travis Green each had a goal and two assists as the Isles rallied from a 4-2 deficit.

All-time, the Isles have played five November 13th games at the Coliseum and finish with a 3-2-0 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale. 

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