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Monday, April 13, 2015

It Happened at the Coliseum … on APRIL 13th

33 years ago tonight (1982) – If you had the privilege to be in the Coliseum 33 years ago, you’re probably still talking about this one – trailing 3-1 late in the third period the Isles rallied for a dynasty-saving, series-cllinching, 4-3 overtime win over the Penguins.

It probably should never have gotten to the point as the Isles cleaned up vs. Pittsburgh in games 1 and 2 (the Penguins had finished 43 points behind the Isles in the regular season) but after Pittsburgh won games 3 and 4 at home, the teams returned to the Coliseum for the decisive fifth game.

The Isles dominated throughout but Pittsburgh had the great equalizer, a red-hot goalie named Michel Dion.  The game was still scoreless midway through the second period when Bob Nystrom broke through for his first goal of the series; however Kevin McClelland found the equalizer 43 seconds later.  Mike Bullard and Randy Carlyle scored 2:21 apart late in the second period to give the Penguins a stunning 3-1 advantage with 20 minutes to play despite a 25-11 shot advantage for the Islanders (and the Corsi would have been even more one-sided!)

20 minutes to save the dynasty became 15 and then 10  and it was still 3-1.  With 7:04 to play in the period, Randy Carlyle, the reigning Norris Trophy winner as the NHL’s best defensemen, took a penalty and the Isles power play went to work.

About a minute into the power play the Isles had not scored and Al Arbour knew that his banner boys (5-9-12-19) were tired so he came up with an absolutely brilliant idea.  He changed his goaltender.  Out came Billy Smith and in went Roland Melanson – who received a warmup period that was allowed at the time.  We’ll never know if the warmup helped Rollie—he never faced a shot—but the rest certainly helped the Islanders as Mike McEwen drew the Isles within one.

With 2:21 to play, a giveaway by who else, Randy Carlyle, got the Isles even on a John Tonelli goal.  That was enough for the Stanley Cup champions to get even heading to overtime.

"Overtime is Our Time" was the cry in that era – and it was on that night as well, when once again Tonelli, on a mad scramble in front of Dion, found the back of the net for the 4-3 win at 6:19 of overtime.  The Isles had outshot Pittsburgh 46-21 and had survived for their 9th straight series win.

Here are Jiggs and Eddie with the call of the tying goal and the winning goal:

On the 30th anniversary (2012), NHL.com's John Kreiser caught up with Bob Nystrom to remember that memorable night at the Coliseum:
Nystrom remembers

Here's the complete game:

Here's JT with USA Network's Al Trautwig:

and here's Al Albert with the highlight from NewsCenter 4:

Also on this date: (2013) The Isles have won three other playoff games on this date at the Coliseum (one vs. Buffalo and two vs. Washington) but a regular season game in 2013 that the Isles did not win stands out more.  Dan Girardi scored the game’s only goal 3:11 into overtime as the Rangers defeated the Islanders 1-0. The Islanders outplayed the Blueshirts for large stretches of the game, but Henrik Lundqvist made 29 saves to record his 44th career shutout The Islanders were 8-1-2 in their last 11 and remained in 7th place in the East, one point behind sixth place Ottawa and one point ahead of the eighth place Rangers.  It was the first time the Isles had ever lost a home game by a 1-0 score in overtime. The point cut the Isles’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot to 10.

Howie had the night off, so Jiggs and Butch have the highlights -- it's the only Islander-Ranger game Jiggs has called in the last 20 years:

All-time, the Isles have played 4 regular season and four  playoff games on April 13th at the Coliseum; they have compiled a 0-1-3 regular season and 4-0 playoff record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale. 

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