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Sunday, December 28, 2014

It Happened at the Coliseum … on DECEMBER 28th

23 years ago tonight (1991) – Tom Fitzgerald is most remembered in Islander history for a pair of shorthanded goals in a 1993 playoff game where by all rights he should have been in the penalty box.  In regular season play, perhaps Fitzgerald’s most memorable moment came on this date, when he scored the winning goal with just 2.7 seconds to play in a 5-4 victory over the rival Rangers.

Fitzgerald’s goal, off drop passes from Ray Ferraro and Benoit Hogue, made a winner out of Glenn Healy. Fitzgerald told Newsday’s Mark Herrmann: "{Mike} Gartner was wrapped all over me. He had my left hand all tied up. That's a hard thing, especially when he's got your top hand, because you need both hands to shoot the puck. Somehow I grabbed my knob and got the shot off. The next thing I know, it's in the back of the net."  It was the first goal since Opening Night for Fitzgerald. The goal also capped a big game for Ray Ferraro, who had a goal and an assist in the first period before assisting on the winning goal.

The win extended the Islanders’ Coliseum mastery over the Rangers to eight games (6-0-2); the Rangers wouldn’t break the streak until 1994. “They probably play us the best, better than any team in the league”, said Ranger netminder John Vanbiesbrouck.

It was the second time in three days that the Isles had rallied on home ice against a  local rival, having tied a game with New Jersey with just 0.5 seconds to play in the previous game.  It was also the third time that month that the Isles had rallied to win or tie in the final 20 seconds.

Also on this date: (2002) – Chris Osgood made 25 saves as the Isles blanked Carolina 3-0. Mark Parrish’s first period goal, a team-leading 13th, proved to be the winner in Islander captain Michael Peca's 500th NHL game. Roman Hamrlik assisted on all three goals. 

All-time, the Isles have played seven December 28th games at the Coliseum and finish with a 3-4-0 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale. 

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