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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

It Happened at the Coliseum … on APRIL 29th

33 years ago tonight (1982) Mike Bossy scored two goals and Bob Bourne added two goals and an assist as the Isles took a 2-0 lead in their Conference Final series with Quebec, defeating the Nordiques 5-2.

Wayne Merrick had given the Isles a 1-0 lead in the first period but Marc Tardif tied the game before the period ended.

Bossy owned the second period, scoring twice, as he sandwiched a goal by Peter Stastny, but it was the play of Billy Smith that caught the attention of Michel Bergeron, the Nordique coach. Bergeron told the NY Times’ Parton Keese: “Smith was the difference.  He was tremendous, making saves when they were up 3-2.  If not, we could have won the game.”

Bob Bourne and Bob Nystrom scored third period goals as the Isles put the game away.

There was one fight in the game, and it came with just 27 seconds to play.  Stefan Persson, who basically never fought, battled with a man whose name has been mentioned three times on #ItHappened this week:  Dale Hunter.

Here are some highlights, from Eyewitness News' Spencer Christian:

The Isles would sweep the series with a pair of wins in Quebec City.  Wayne Merrick’s OT goal gave the Isles a 5-4 win in game three; the Isles built a 3-0 lead and survived a late Nordique rally for a 4-2 win in game 4, for their 11th consecutive series win.

Also on this date: (1978) Coliseum ice hosted only one game 7 – it was the only one Islander star Mike Bossy played in.  It didn’t end well, as Lanny McDonald scored at 4:13 of overtime to give Roger Nielsen’s Leafs a 2-1 win in the deciding game.  Denis Potvin had given the Isles a 1-0 lead in the first, but Ian Turnbull’s second period goal caused OT.  “They were probably a little hungrier than we were; to a certain degree they may have outworked us”, Al Arbour told the NY Times.

McDonald’s goal caused a lot of tears, for the Isles and their fans. (One of the Times stories was headlined, “Gillies, Harris in Tears”.)  At the time, some wondered whether it would be the last game in Islander history as the franchise was saddled with debt and owner Roy Boe was in financial trouble.  The Isles survived, and made Long Island their home for another 37 years … less two days.

Here's McDonald's goal (from Hockey Night); it was the last one called by John Sterling as the radio voice of the Islanders:

All-time, the Isles have played no regular season and two playoff games on April 29th at the Coliseum; they have compiled a 1-1 playoff record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale. 

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