The Isles head into the Garden on Tuesday night in an unfamiliar place -- First.
It's the first time in over 30 years that the Isles will find themselves with at least a share of 1st place heading into a game in the second half of the season against the Rangers:
On February 15, 1984 the Isles visited the Garden and the Isles (35-21-2) and Rangers (32-18-8) shared the division lead with 72 points. Nick Fotiu (of all people) scored the winning goal with 7 minutes to play for a 3-2 Ranger win over the Stanley Cup champs to push the Rangers into 1st place.
Here's the standings heading into that game:
The last time the Isles were in first place by themselves when they faced the Rangers was (at the Coliseum) on January 14, 1984 (31 years ago Wednesday). The Isles beat the Rangers 4-2 behind a goal and two assists (each) for Bossy, Potvin ... and Goring, extending their division lead to 7 points. (Trottier was hurt so Butch played with Bossy, who recorded his 400th NHL goal)
The last time the Isles were in first place by themselves when they visited MSG was on January 8, 1984. The Isles went into MSG with a 4 point lead over the Flyers. The Rangers had leads of 1-0, 3-1, and 4-3 -- all of which the Isles erased. With just 1:31 to play, Don Maloney (who would score an even more important late goal three months later) scored the winning goal in a 5-4 Ranger win. But where was Ranger Captain Dave Maloney? He was in the locker room -- having been given a game misconduct for being the third man in for an altercation between Bobby Nystrom and Glen Hanlon.
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since January 21, 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick
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