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Sunday, December 07, 2014

It Happened at the Coliseum … on DECEMBER 7th

18 years ago tonight (1996) -  Tommy Salo made 24 saves for his second career shutout and Bryan Smolinski scored the winning goal as the Islanders defeated Washington 2-0.

With a near-sellout crowd on hand to watch Clark Gillies #9 take its rightful place in the Coliseum rafters, the game was scoreless late in the second period when a hit by Claude Lapointe on Washington’s Mark Tinordi shattered the glass and caused the second intermission to start 4:43 early, and appeared to ignite the Islanders.

The win evened the Islanders’ home record at 6-6-2 and raised their record to 4-1-2 in their new “third jerseys” which featured the traditional logo over the fisherman-style uniform.

Coach Mike Milbury told Newsday’s John Valenti:: "I said to the players before the game, `Every time I challenge you, you guys seem to shrink - instead of get taller.' So, I said to them, `I'm not going to mention that we're going to have a full crowd. I'm not going to mention that we're going to be much closer to .500. I'm not going to mention that it's Clark Gillies Night. I'm not going to mention a lot of other things that I could. I just want you to play hard.' 

A portion of Gillies’ ceremony is included in the ESPN Film “Big Shot” when Gillies gives a shoutout to the incoming Islander owner: John Spano.

Gillies received his uniform from Al Arbour
That's Isles radio announcer Barry Landers holding up
a gold boxing glove at the ceremony.

Also on this date: (1978) – Mike Bossy had the hat trick as the Islanders cruised to a 7-1 win over St. Louis.  Bryan Trottier and Bob Nystrom each scored twice as the Isles celebrated their 500th NHL game (all of which had been played by Billy Harris).  The win extended the Isles unbeaten streak to 14 (11-0-3) and raised their home record on the season to 9-0-3.

All-time, the Isles have played nine December 7th games at the Coliseum and finish with a 5-3-1 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale. 

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