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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

It Happened at the Coliseum … on DECEMBER 17th

26 years ago tonight (1988) – Billy Smith made 25 saves for his 304th career win as Al Arbour recorded the first victory of his second stint with the club in a 5-2 victory over New Jersey.  The win broke a 12-game Islander losing streak, the first eight of which had cost coach Terry Simpson his job.

The Isles scored three power play goals and Raimo Helminen assisted on all of them. Brent Sutter and David Volek each had a goal and an assist for the Isles, who improved to 8-22-2 on the season.

Raimo Helminen had a rather pedestrian career in North America, but was a superstar in Europe. He appeared in six Olympics for Finland, and was named to the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2012.

“We were too low before”, Al Abour told the NY Times’ Robin Finn.  “Now we have got to stay level.  You can’t go up and down like a graph.”  Arbour, who had gone 0-4-0 since replacing Simpson, recorded his 553rd win as Islander coach.

I don't have any video from this Arbour win but I did stumble upon this video of Arbour getting into a fight w Pete Conacher (who would be a distant relative of Cory Conacher's).  Check out how the penalized players enter the penalty box towards the end of this clip.

It was the final Coliseum win of Smith’s career.  He would win one other game for the Isles, in early January in Boston.

The Isles would go 21-25-3 beginning with this game to finish the season, but would finish next-to-last overall and miss the playoffs for the first time since 1973-74.

Also on this date: (1992) – In the first-ever meeting between the teams, the Isles wallop the Ottawa Senators 9-2.  Pierre Turgeon scored twice for the Isles, offsetting a Senator goal by his brother Sylvain.  Benoit Hogue added a goal and three assists.

All-time, the Isles have played thirteen December 17th games at the Coliseum and finish with a 10-1-2 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.

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