25 years ago today (1990) – Brent Sutter scored three goals for his 6th career hat trick as the Islanders celebrated St. Patrick’s Day and broke a 14-game winless streak with a 5-3 matinee win over the Rangers.
The Isles had a share of first place early in the streak but were 0-11-3 in their last 14 heading into this game and needed a victory in this game to avoid tying the franchise record 15 game winless streak.
After Darren Turcotte and Randy Wood traded first period goals, the Isles took command of the game with three second period tallies. Pat LaFontaine scored his 49th goal of the season and after Kris King (the NHL executive and not the current Isles radio broadcaster) re-tied the game, Pat Flatley and Sutter’s first goal gave the Isles a 4-2 advantage.
Mike Gartner scored just past the midway point of the third to make it a 1-goal game but Sutter’s two goals, the latter in an empty net, cemented the win. It was Sutter's second career hat trick against the Rangers; he would play another 500 NHL games but would never score another hat trick.
“We knew something was going to happen. We were so close for so long," Pat LaFontaine told Newsday’s Mark Herrmann "I always feel that if things don't go your way, good things are bound to come your way sooner or later."
The Isles would go 0-3-2 in their next five, but would make the playoffs with wins in their final two games, and a whole lot of help.
I have some video of this one with one caveat -- it's in French.
Also on this date: (1981) – Anders Kallur scored twice, including a shorthanded tally with 5:41 to play, as the Isles rallied for a 3-3 tie with the Canadiens. The third period was punctuated by a brawl between the squads that erupted with a Bobby Nystrom-Rod Langway fight. 122 penalty minutes were assessed from the fracas, including 24 each for Montreal’s Keith Acton and the Isles’ Lorne Henning.
All-time, the Isles have played five March 17th games at the Coliseum and finish with a 3-1-1 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.
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