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Saturday, January 24, 2015

It Happened at the Coliseum … on JANUARY 24th

34 years ago tonight (1981) - Mike Bossy headed into the 50th game of the season with 48 goals, and he wasn’t even the leading goal scorer in the NHL.  Charlie Simmer, playing in his 50th game, had scored his 47th, 48th and 49th goals earlier in the day to temporarily take over the goal scoring lead.

Yet, what Bossy wanted was that 50 in 50 mark that had only been previously achieved by Rocket Richard.   

For a long time, it looked like he would fall short. Ironically, the scoring star for most of the game was Quebec’s Jacques Richard (no relation to Rocket), who scored Quebec’s first two goals and then assisted on their next two goals as the Nordiques led 4-3 midway through the third.

Despite stopping Bossy, the Nords could not stop the Isles’ power play and when Steve Tambellini tied the game at 10:09 of the third period, the Isles had their fourth power play goal.

But the nervous Coliseum crowd realized time was running out for Bossy’s quest. Quebec’s Michel Goulet was penalized at 13:56 and the Isles needed almost the entire two minutes for Bossy to get his 49th at 15:50.

That goal gave the Isles the lead, but still left Bossy one goal short.  With just 1:29 to play, a Twitter handle (@bossy5050) was born. Bossy beat Ron Grahame from the left faceoff circle, appropriately off a pass from Bryan Trottier,to tie Richard’s mark, causing absolute bedlam in the Coliseum.”Mike Bossy has his 50th goal…a standing ovation…50 for Bossy….a minute, 29 left in this game” was Jiggs McDonald’s call on SportsChannel.

“I hadn’t given up.  Though I was really frustrated out there, my teammates kept me pumped up throughout the whole game.  But I wasn’t doing anything out there….. But then, I got the 49th, and that made me even more nervous”, Bossy said after the game.  “I was all by myself (for the 50th), but when the puck hit my stick, it bounced straight up in the air.  That made me glad I do have a quick release, for I just whacked it in when it came down.  I said “I did it. I did it. I was so happy.”  And so was everyone at the Coliseum that evening.  

Bryan Trottier would add a goal 19 seconds after Bossy’s 50th to make it a 7-4 final.  The Isles set a franchise record of 5 power play goals that night that has never been equaled.

The historic boxscore:

First Period

1 - QUE : Richard 29 (Stastny A, Stastny P) (PP) 8:17
2 - NYI : Gillies 22 (Persson) (PP) 11:18

Second Period

3 - QUE : Richard 30 (Pichette, Hoganson) (EV) 7:34
4 - NYI : Kallur 27 (Tonelli, Persson) (PP) 12:48
5 - NYI : Kallur 28 (Tonelli, Goring) (PP) 13:26
6 - QUE : Goulet 22 (Richard) (EV) 18:12

Third Period

7 - QUE : Stastny A 19 (Stastny P, Richard) (PP) 5:48
8 - NYI : Tambellini 14 (Tonelli, Persson) (PP) 10:09
9 - NYI : Bossy 49 (Persson, Trottier) (PP) 15:50
10 - NYI : Bossy 50 (Trottier, Tonelli) (EV) 18:31
11 - NYI : Trottier 19 (Bossy, Persson) (EV) 18:50

Here's Parton Keeses' story from the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/1981/01/25/sports/bossy-gets-50th-to-equal-mark.html

Also on this date: (1995) – Benoit Hogue converted a penalty shot as the Isles beat Philadelphia 4-3 to improve 2-0-1 in the lockout-shortened season.  Colin Stephenson's story from the NY Daily News is here: http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/sports/hextall-left-isle-isles-lift-mclennan-hogue-article-1.691397
Things would go downhill quickly from there and the Isles would finish the season 15-28-5.

All-time, the Isles have played eight January 24th games at the Coliseum and finish with a 4-1-3 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.

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