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Tuesday, April 07, 2015

It Happened at the Coliseum … on APRIL 7th

38 years ago tonight (1977) –  Jude Drouin and Clark Gillies scored goals as the Islanders completed a two-game sweep of the Chicago Black Hawks in the preliminary round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 2-1 win. 

Of all the games that the Islanders have played at the Coliseum, this is the only one in which the Isles were the road team.   As the story goes, Bill Wirtz had booked Led Zeppelin into Chicago Stadium because he was convinced that the Black Hawks were going to get a first round bye.  However, the Blackhawks finished the season 26-43-11, earning Chicago a date with the Isles.  With the schedule conflict, the Isles served as the visiting team in their own building. 

The scoreboard read “Islanders” on one side and “Home” on the other side. The Black Hawks had the last change, and wore home whites, while the Isles wore blue jerseys.  The fans rooted for the “road” team though, at a packed Coliseum.

Perhaps Denis Potvin said it best: “It was nice to beat the Black Hawks in their own building”.

Tony Esposito was brilliant in the Chicago net, stopping 33 shots, and left the ice without participating in the traditional handshake.  “He probably couldn’t raise his arm”, noted Al Arbour.

Dave Salvian
Dennis Hull had the only Chicago goal; it gave the Black Hawks a short-lived 1-0 lead.  Speaking of short-lived, Dave Salvian assisted on Jude Drouin’s goal.  Salvian’s name comes up as a trivia answer from time-to-time – it was Salvian’s only NHL game and point; he never played in a regular season NHL game.  “My palms were a little sweaty before I went out on the ice. But I was okay once I got into the game”, Salvian told Newsday’s Tim Moriarty.  Salvian was an emergency replacement for JP Parise and told Moriarty that he was in such a hurry to get to his first NHL game that he did not even have socks with him.  Salvian was returned to Fort Wayne after the game.

UPDATE: About 7 weeks after this blog post first appeared, Salvian was interviewed by Fox Sports for the "One and Done Blog" -- check it out here: 


With the win the Isles advanced to play Buffalo.  For Clark Gillies, it was the start of a remarkable stretch in which he scored the winning goal in 4 consecutive playoff games.  For the Isles, it was a road win in a building that was (and at least for another few weeks, hopefully months, is) their home.

Also on this date: (1979) – Mike Bossy scored 4 goals to give him 67 goals on the season as the Islanders crushed Philadelphia 9-2.  Bossy would add two more goals in the season finale the following night at Madison Square Garden as the Isles clinched 1st place overall.  (The President’s Trophy designation was added for the 1985-86 season.)

Here are some highlights from NBC-4's Larry Sacknoff.

All-time, the Isles have played two regular season and four playoff games on April 7th at the Coliseum; they have compiled a 1-1-0 regular season and 2-2 playoff record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.

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