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Friday, December 19, 2014

It Happened at the Coliseum … on DECEMBER 19th

15 years ago tonight (1999) - Roberto Luongo made 46 saves for his second career victory (and first at the Coliseum) as the Isles beat New Jersey 5-3.

Gino Odjick broke a 2-2 tie with 3:16 to play in the middle period to give the Isles the lead for good.

Odjick, an enormously popular player in Vancouver, is fighting cancer right now.

Olli Jokinen scored the game-winning goal early in the third period, but it was the play of the rookie netminder Luongo that drew everybody’s attention.

Jokinen's conditioning didn't impress Mike Milbury, who included him in the Luongo trade with Florida. Like Luongo, Jokinen is still active in the NHL

Luongo did not even expect to play, but a pending trade of Felix Potvin to Vancouver put Luongo in the nets. “They told me so late, I didn’t know if I was going to be ready”.  Ready he was, stopping all but a pair of Claude Lemieux shots.

“We had to battle and Luongo gave us a great game”, said Islander coach Butch Goring, adding "I got a call from [GM Mike Milbury] and was told that Potvin couldn't play tonight”.  Potvin, who took warmups expecting to play in the game, spent the game on the bench as the back-up.

A relatively rare site -- Luongo as an Islander
 It was the first of four Coliseum wins for Luongo in an Islander uniform, who has gone on to win over 380 NHL games.

Also on this date: (1989) – Don Maloney scored at 3:18 of overtime as the suddenly surging islanders won their third straight game, defeating New Jersey 5-4.

All-time, the Isles have played seven December 19th games at the Coliseum and finish with a 4-3-0 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.

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