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Sunday, May 24, 2015

It Happened at the Coliseum … on MAY 24th

I’m not usually short for words (I’ve written over 100,000 of them in the #It Happened series) but today is different.  This is the last edition of a series that began on October 3rd, detailing John Tavares’ first NHL game (You can find that edition here…and it ends with Bob Nystrom’s most famous goal...  JT to Nystrom… There’s some symmetry there I guess.

Thanks so much to all of the people who have contributed to this series with their anecdotes, pictures and videos.

Special thanks to:
  •  Steve Steinsaltz, who contributed a lot of the videos from the Cup era,
  • “StevieNics”, who posted so many of the videos onto youtube that appeared in this series 
  •  Hockey Summary Project (hsp.flyershistory.com), for filling the gaps in my memory with their boxscores
  •  Hockey-Reference.com – my go-to source for NHL stats and data
  •  The Syosset Public Library – amazing how much research you can do online if you have a library card
  •  Isles-blog – for helping to make this obsession a wonderful charitable endeavor
  •  and of course to my family.
     However, the biggest thanks goes to you -- the reader -- for reading, and for all of the nice words that you have said not only about this series, but about The Skinny as well.

35 years ago today (1980) - The Stanley Cup is ours!  

Bob Nystrom converted a pass from John Tonelli at the magical 7:11 mark of overtime as the Islanders defeated the Philadelphia  5-4  to win the Stanley Cup in 6 games.

Reggie Leach had given the Flyers a 1-0 first period lead with a power play goal but Denis Potvin knotted the game with a power play tally of his own.

That set the stage for the most disputed part of the game – a goal by Duane Sutter after a missed off-side call by Leon Stickle. “I guess I blew it”, Stickle told a pool reporter.  Flyer fans will tell you that call cost them the Stanley Cup –they’ll usually conveniently forget that Brian Propp tied the game before the first period was over.

Mike Bossy broke the 2-2 tie with the Islanders’ second power play goal of the game at 7:46 of the middle session, and when Bob Nystrom beat Peter Peeters with just 14 seconds to play in the session, it seemed like the Islanders had the game in hand. 

Jim Robson was calling the game for Hockey Night in Canada and ironically noted, “Bob Nystrom will never score a bigger goal in his life.”  He was right – for about 90 minutes.

Give the Flyers credit though.  Philadelphia had finished first overall, in large part due to a 35-game unbeaten streak, and with their season on the line they managed to tie the game.  Bob Dailey scored just 1:47 into the third period and John Paddock scored 4:15 later to get the Broad Street Bullies, who were looking for their 3rd championship in 7 years, even.  Neither team could score in the rest of regulation and (after CBS showed 15 minutes of golf), we went to overtime.

35 years later, the Flyers are still waiting. 

Taken at the Coliseum during the 2014-15 season
It was 5:40pm on that 24th day of May, 1980.  At 7:11 of overtime, Tonelli’s pass to Nystrom made history as Bob Nystrom scored “The Goal” ….and the Islanders won the Stanley Cup.

This scene was recreated in the same corner i.n 2015, when John Tavares scored to beat Washington in overtime in game 3.

“It’s the greatest feeling in the world.”, Nystrom told Newsday’s Pat Calabria. “It’s everything it is supposed to be.  It’s everything you dream about.  It is.”

Others felt tears, of happiness.  “All I want to do is cry.  Cry, cry, cry, that’s all”, said Bob Bourne.

The first sentence on page 3 of Newsday ends this way: “We Are Long Island and Proud. Thank You.”  If a similar sentence was written today, it could end:  “We Are Long Island – home of the Lizards, Ducks, Cosmos and Rough Riders.”  

Here's the most complete version of the CBC broadcast I can find:

This was the only game that aired on network television in the US in a span of nearly two decades -- Dan Kelly was at the microphone for CBS when Nystrom made history.

Kelly also had the honors as the voice behind the 1980 Stanley Cup Film:

The Isles' win even merited a mention on Saturday Night Live (wonder whatever happened to that anchor?)

Nystrom's goal was a work of art.  Literally.

The historic boxscore:

First Period
1 - PHI : Reggie Leach 9 (Rick MacLeish, Bill Barber) (PP) 7:21 
2 - NYI : Potvin 6 (Bossy, Trottier) (PP) 11:56 
3 - NYI : Sutter (Gillies, Goring) (EV) 14:08 
4 - PHI : Brian Propp 5 (Paul Holmgren, Ken Linseman) (EV) 18:38 

Second Period
5 - NYI : Bossy 10 (Bourne, Trottier) (PP) 7:34 
6 - NYI : Nystrom 8 (Tonelli) (EV) 19:46 

Third Period
7 - PHI : Bob Dailey 4 (Ken Linseman, Paul Holmgren) (EV) 1:47 
8 - PHI : John Paddock 2 (Andre Dupont, Rick MacLeish) (EV) 6:02 

9 - NYI : Nystrom 9 (Henning, Tonelli) (EV) 7:11 

(Update: As the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs started, the NHL added their own box scores to their website --here's what it looks like

One year ago today, I wrote a Skinny post on that day -- it included a picture of the scoresheet that a 16-year old future statistician had typed up about the game:

My complete post on that day is here:
The Skinny on May 24, 1980
Truth be told -- it was writing that post that gave me this crazy idea to cover the Coliseum's history on a day-by-day basis.

In honor of the 30th anniversary in 1980, I shared a draft of the script that Jiggs McDonald used in 2006 to introduce the Stanley Cup champions.
1980 Stanley Cup Champions - Jiggs script

Also on this date: (1993) In Montreal, the Canadiens eliminated the Isles in five games with a 5-2 victory.  The Isles have not been out of the first round since.  (Update --this would change in 2016!)

All-time, the Isles played one playoff games on May 24th at the Coliseum; they compiled a 1-0 playoff record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale. 

And Finally....

The final words in this series belong not to me, not to Howie and not to Jiggs. 

They belong to a radio broadcaster (who died in 2009) named Bob Lawrence,
who called the play-by-play for only a handful of Islanders games -- he was John Sterling's sidekick when Sterling did the play-by-play for three seasons and then mainly served as the host of radio broadcasts that were simulcasts of the TV broadcast.  With CBS televising Game 6, the Isles did their own radio broadcast and it was Lawrence (along with Jean Potvin) who had the call.

Here's what he said:

Saturday, May 23, 2015

It Happened at the Coliseum … on MAY 23rd

The Isles never played a game, at the Coliseum or on the road, on May 23rd. 

Rather than leave an empty page, enjoy Fort NeverLose -- the NHL Network special that aired last month.

Be sure to join me tomorrow for the 235th (and final) edition of It Happened at the Coliseum!

In association with IslesBlog, we raised over $33,000 with our namesake shirts.
The proceeds benefited Make-A-Wish(R) Metro NY. 
Isles fans at the final regular season home game.

Friday, May 22, 2015

It Happened at the Coliseum … on MAY 22nd

22 years ago tonight (1993)- Patrick Flatley’s goal broke a 1-1 tie early in the third period as the Islanders defeated Montreal 4-1 in game #4 of the Wales Conference Final.

Paul DiPietro scored early in the second period to break a scoreless tie, but Steve Thomas tied the game before the period ended.

After Flatley gave the Isles the lead at 5:57 of the third period, David Volek gave the Isles a 3-1 lead with his second goal of the series at 10:24. Benoit Hogue hit the empty net in the final minute for the final margin of victory in what turned out to be Al Arbour’s 123rd and final playoff win (119 for Isles).

"This was a typical Islander effort led by our captain Pat Flatley," Al Arbour told Newsday’s Jeff Williams. "His play was typical of our second effort tonight. He battled through that defenseman from the blue line in."

The Islander win snapped Montreal’s NHL-record-tying 11-game playoff winning streak.
Nobody would have believed you at the time, but it turned out to be the last time the Coliseum hosted a game beyond the first round of the playoffs.

1992-93 team picture

Also on this date: (1980) – Rick MacLeish scored twice as the Flyers earned a 6-3 win in Philadelphia in game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.  Stefan Persson had two goals for the Islanders, both on the power play.  The Isles would have to wait less than 48 hours for Game 6 – that game would have a different result.

All-time, the Isles played one playoff games on May 22nd at the Coliseum; they compiled a 1-0 playoff record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

It Happened at the Coliseum … on MAY 21st

34 years ago tonight (1981) Butch Goring scored 2 first period goals, capping off his Conn Smythe Award-winning season as the Isles scored three times in the first 10:03 and coasted to a 5-1 victory and their second consecutive Stanley Cup.

Goring has the Conn Smythe Trophy in front of him
Goring got the Isles started at 5:12 of the period, and Wayne Merrick scored 25 seconds later.  It would turn out to be the Stanley Cup clinching goal.

Steve Christoff scored at 16:06 of the first period to give North Stars fans hope of a Miracle on Ice (Christoff won Gold for Team USA in 1980), but the Isles were not about to let a 3-goal lead get away – not with the Stanley Cup in the building.

The game stayed 3-1 until the final minute of the second period, when Bob Bourne put the dagger through the North Stars’ hopes.  The third period was largely ceremonial; Mike McEwen scored with 2:54 to play for the final margin of victory.

Billy Smith was good when he had to be—the Stars outshot the Isles 15-10 in the first period – but did not have much to do in the final 40 minutes as Minnesota managed only 10 shots on goal.

The Isles became the third consecutive Stanley Cup Champion to repeat at least once (Philadelphia 1974-75, Montreal 1976-79).

Here's the historic box score:

Minnesota North Stars 1 @ New York Islanders 5

First Period

1 - NYI : Goring 9 (Bourne) (PP) 5:12 
2 - NYI : Merrick 6 (Tonelli, Nystrom) (EV) 5:37 
3 - NYI : Goring 10 (Gillies, Bossy) (EV) 10:03 
4 - MINS : Christoff 8 (EV) 16:06 

Second Period

5 - NYI : Bourne 4 (Carroll, Kallur) (EV) 19:21 

Third Period

6 - NYI : McEwen 6 (Trottier) (EV) 17:06 

Here is the link to the (edited) complete game replay, from Hockey Night in Canada:

Here is the winning celebration, also from Hockey Night.  Watch how quickly the fans stormed the ice!

Here are highlights from Hockey Night:

Here are some post-season highlights, narrated by Jiggs McDonald:

Here is the Stanley Cup film:

The Stanley Cup is the perfect trophy -- but its full of imperfections -- such as the spelling "Ilanders" seen here.

All-time, the Isles played one playoff game on May 21st at the Coliseum; they compiled a 1-0 playoff record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Moving on Up -- Cappy now the 4th longest tenured coach with current team

With Mike Babcock heading to Leafs Nation, Jack Capuano now has the 4th longest current streak as head coach of one team:

Claude Julien (620)
Joel Quenneville (536)
and Dave Tippett (458)
have more games than Cappy (359).

*Therrien has 402 games with Montreal, but only 212 in his current stint.

Based on comments out of Boston today, Cappy could be moving up again sometime soon.
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since January 21, 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

It Happened at the Coliseum … on MAY 20th

22 years ago tonight (1993) For the second consecutive game, the Islanders and Canadiens went to overtime; once again the Islanders ended up on the short end as Guy Carbonneau scored 12:34 into overtime for a 2-1 Canadien win and a 3-0 lead in the Wales Conference Final.

Pierre Turgeon, making his first Coliseum appearance since being mauled by Dale Hunter, scored the opening goal for the second straight game.  The similarities didn’t end there—for the second straight game Montreal caused overtime by scoring with just over five minutes to play. Vincent Damphousse had the tally.

The Isles outshot Montreal 28-19 in regulation, and 32-23 overall, but could beat Canadien goaltender Patrick Roy only once.

The loss ended an Islander 9-game home overtime winning streak, dating back to a loss to Boston in 1980.

It was the Canadiens’ 11th straight playoff win, tying the Stanley Cup record for a single season and was Montreal’s 7th overtime win of the playoffs

Here's the video of the winning goal:

After the game Al Arbour was furious about the officiating, particularly the fact that it appeared that Montreal had EIGHT players on the ice for the winning goal (as told to Newsday's Jeff Williams):

"I think it's very apparent, the last couple of games, that there are two sets of rules. There is a rule regarding the Montreal Canadiens and there is a rule regarding everybody else. I mean, on that play, they have eight guys on the ice, including the goaltender. They play the puck right after that. There is a tripping penalty. Brunet tripped Dalgarno. Brunet gets the puck back. He makes the play and Dalgarno is in {their} end. I mean it was very obvious to everyone."

All-time, the Isles played one playoff game on May 20th at the Coliseum; they compiled a 0-1 playoff record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It Happened at the Coliseum … on MAY 19th

35 years ago tonight (1980) – The Islanders moved within one game of the Stanley Cup, with a 5-2 win over the Flyers in game 4 of the 1980 Final.

Unlike game 3, the Isles would score only once on the power play – Mike Bossy gave the Isles a 1-0 lead with a power play marker; Butch Goring also scored in the opening session to give the Isles a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes.

John Paddock (who will play an important role in the final episode of It Happened this Sunday) scored early in the second period to cut the Islanders’ advantage in half entering the third period.

Bryan Trottier restored the two-goal advantage at 6:06 of the third period with his 11th goal of the postseason, but Ken Linseman temporarily brought Philly within one at 11:53.  It took just 42 seconds for Bob Nystrom to restore the Isles two-goal advantage, and 1:33 after that Clark Gillies gave the Isles the final margin of victory.

Three days later, the Islanders would head into Philadelphia for their first opportunity to win the Stanley Cup.

The scoring:

First Period
1 - NYI : Bossy 9 (Gillies, Trottier) (PP) 7:23
2 - NYI : Goring 7 (Gillies, Sutter) (EV) 13:06

Second Period
3 - PHI : Paddock 1 (Macleish, Wilson) (EV) 1:35

Third Period
4 - NYI : Trottier 11 (Howatt) (EV) 6:06
5 - PHI : Linseman 4 (Propp, Gorence) (EV) 11:53
6 - NYI : Nystrom 7 (Bourne) (EV) 12:35
7 - NYI : Gillies 6 (Sutter) (EV) 14:08

Also on this date: (1984) Every good thing, even a Dynasty, comes to an end, and 31 years ago in Edmonton the Oilers captured the Stanley Cup with a 5-2 victory.  Wayne Gretzky scored two first period goals and Edmonton had a 4-0 lead through 40 minutes.  Rookie Pat LaFontaine scored twice in the first 35 seconds of the third period (establishing a playoff record that stands today) but that was as close as the Islanders came, as their run of four consecutive Stanley Cups and 19 consecutive playoff series came to end.  

Here are the highlights from the final game the Islanders played as Stanley Cup Champions:

All-time, the Isles played one playoff game on May 19th at the Coliseum; they compiled a 1-0 playoff record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.