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Friday, February 20, 2015

It Happened at the Coliseum … on FEBRUARY 20th

33 years ago tonight (1982) - John Tonelli's goal with 47 seconds to play broke a 2-2 tie, and Chico Resch's heart, as the Isles defeated their former goaltender and the Colorado Rockies, 3-2 at the Coliseum to establish an NHL record with a fifteenth straight win.
The win broke a record established by the Boston Bruins in the 1929-30 season.

Don Lever had given Colorado a 1-0 lead but goals by Bryan Trottier and Brent Sutter 50 seconds apart gave the Isles a 2-1 advantage after one period.  Lever tied the game just 1:46 into the second period and the score remained just that for the next 37 ½ minutes.

The NHL record winning streak is now 17 games, held by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins also won 15 straight games in the 2012-13 season. The Penguins' streaks, however, included overtime (and in 2013, shootout)  wins, leaving the Islanders as the only NHL team to ever be better than their opponents after 60 minutes in fifteen straight games.
Resch was making his first appearance at the Coliseum after being traded away 11 months earlier.  After the game, he described the winning goal, which appeared in detail in Parton Keese’s story in the NY Times:

''Trots came up center ice,'' Resch said. ''I don't trust Trots. I saw Bossy over at the right, but I thought Trots would fake a pass and drive up the middle.

''Instead, he passed it to Tonelli at his left. I couldn't see Tonelli too well, but I saw his stick go back. That's when I decided to cheat a little and protect the corners. At the last second, I saw it coming straight and true, and I jumped back and tried to draw my legs together.

''As Tonelli said to me later, 'Chico, you would have stopped that shot ninety-nine times out of a hundred, but this time it went right through the V.' I was embarrassed because the guys were so emotional about stopping the Islanders' streak.'' 

Tonelli said that he had not given much thought to the record until last Thursday night in Philadelphia when the Islanders beat the Flyers for their 14th straight victory, tying the mark.
Tonelli added: ''That meant a lot to me, the way we came back in their building, which is so tough for us. For the first time, I was really excited about the streak, though I do feel sorry for Chico, an old friend. He played so well.''

Here's Jiggs & Eddie with the call of the winning goal:

And here's a longer version (that wasn't available when this series debuted in 2015):

The AP Wire story is here: From the Lakeland Ledger
NY Times story is here: NY Times

The Box score is here: Box Score

Stan Fischler's memories are here: Maven on The Streak

Also on this date: (1992) – Pierre Turgeon recorded a hat trick and the Isles’ power play dominated, scoring four times, as the Isles blasted the Rangers 6-2.

All-time, the Isles have played six February 20th games at the Coliseum and finish with a 4-2-0 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale. 

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