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Monday, April 06, 2015

It Happened at the Coliseum … on APRIL 6th

13 years ago tonight (2002) – After 8 long years without a playoff appearance, the Islanders clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 5-4 win over Washington.

After Dmitri Khristich gave the Caps a 1-0 lead, Oleg Kvasha tied the game just 39 seconds later.  Eric Cairns gave the Isles the lead for good just 78 seconds after Kvasha’s goal and the Isles took the 2-1 lead into the first intermission.

Kenny Jonsson and Jason Blake scored second period goals to make it 4-1, and when Michael Peca scored early in the third period the Isles looked like they were going to coast into the playoffs.  However, the Caps scored three times to close within 1 goal with 4:16 to play, leading to some anxious moments, but the Isles held on for the 5-4 win.

''I'm always disappointed when we give up goals, but not enough now not to make me smile,'' Coach Peter Laviolette told the NY Times’ Dave Caldwell. ''That's our team. We look ahead and get lost.''

Kenny Jonsson put it best: ''It's just an awesome feeling. It’s just the best feeling in the world.''

The Isles would have clinched a playoff spot even if they had lost in overtime or the game ended in a tie, but the win did something else – it allowed the Isles to break a 22 game winless streak (0-19-3) against the Caps.

NY Islanders
New Jersey

Let the celebration begin -- with Howie Rose and Joe Micheletti.

Here's a season highlight package from that season as well -- this actually aired at the end of the playoffs.

Also on this date: (1988) – Pat LaFontaine beat Sean Burke for the winning goal at 6:11 of overtime to give the Islanders a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils in game 1 of the Patrick Division Semifinals. LaFontaine’s first goal of the evening had given the Islanders a 3-1 lead early in the third period, but the Devils, playing the first playoff game in their franchise history, tied the game on goals by David Maley and John MacLean.  MacLean’s goal came on the power play with 1:56 to play, and forced the extra session.

Here is a lengthy highlight package from that series.  Beware -- it doesn't end well.

Also on this date: (1983) – Bryan Trottier scored twice and Denis Potvin and Stefan Persson each added two assists as the Isles began their drive for a fourth consecutive Stanley Cup with a 5-2 win over Washington.  Bobby Gould scored twice for the Caps; he would finish the four-game series with five goals.

Also on this date: (1974) – Billy Harris became the first player with two hat tricks in an Islander uniform as the Isles defeated Minnesota 4-2 in the season finale. Harris completed his hat trick with an empty net goal with 36 seconds to play as the Isles finished the 1973-74 regular season with a 19-41-18 record.  One year later, they would be preparing for the playoffs.

All-time, the Isles have played eight regular season and three playoff games on April 6th at the Coliseum; they have compiled a 5-2-1 regular season and 3-0 playoff record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.

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