31 years ago tonight (1984) – The earliest playoff game in Islander history came on this day in 1984, as the Islanders defeated the Rangers 4-1 in Game 1 of the Patrick Division Semi-Finals.
Jan Erixon scored the only goal of the first period but that was the only time that the Rangers beat Billy Smith. Pat Flatley and Pat LaFontaine, each playing in their first NHL playoff game, score a goal and earned an assist on the other’s goal.
Flatley and LaFontaine sandwiched goals by Bob Bourne and Greg Gilbert as the Isles scored 4 goals in a span of 7:08 starting late in the second period and continuing into the third.
The Rangers outshot the Isles 34-28 but it wasn’t enough in game 1.
Here’s some highlights from the USA Network telecast:
Also on this date: (1998) – In the famed “goalie fight” game, the Isles recorded their second consecutive shutout as they blanked the Rangers 3-0.
Neither team was headed to the playoffs on that Saturday afternoon and Claude Lapointe’s goal in the final minute of the first period was all the scoring until the third. Ziggy Palffy and Joe Sacco had raised the Isles’ advantage to 3-0 in the first 13 minutes of the third. It was at that point just 44 seconds after Sacco’s goal that all heck broke loose.
In all five separate fights broke off—capped by the battle, if one could call it that, between Tommy Salo and the Rangers’ Dan Cloutier.
Kenny Albert had the call of the game on the NHL on Fox.
Cloutier won the battle, Salo lost his shutout as he was ejected, but Wade Flaherty completed the shutout.
Also on this date: (1987) – Denis Potvin scored his 2nd goal of the game to with just 17 seconds to play but it did more than earn the Isles a 6-6 tie with Buffalo. It was Potvin’s 1,000th NHL point, as he became the first defenseman in NHL history to reach 1,000 points. Clark Gillies scored twice and added an assist, but he did it as a Sabre, not an Islander.
Also on this date: (2004) – Kim Johnsson scored at 4:20 of the third period to lift the Flyers into a 3-3 tie with the Islanders on the final day of the regular season. Overtime solved nothing and the game ended in that 3-3 tie–the final tie in Islander history. When NHL play resumed 18 months later after a lockout cost the 2004-2005 season, the tie game was extinct, replaced by a shootout.
All-time, the Isles have played seven regular season and one playoff game on April 4th at the Coliseum; they have compiled a 3-1-3 regular season and 1-0 playoff record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale. The final April 4th home game is tonight –as the Isles host Buffalo at 7:00. Make sure you’re there, because after tonight (and this tears me to write), there is only one regular season game remaining.
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