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Friday, March 01, 2019

It Happened at the Coliseum … on MARCH 1st

It's 31 for 31.  Today is the 31st anniversary of the last shutout for #31, Billy Smith.  It's the featured story in this edition of It Happened at the Coliseum.

It's also the 39th anniversary of a game that would prove pivotful in the Isles' Cup run, the NHL debut of Ken Morrow.  Do you remember who started in goal for the Isles?

Here's how I presented it in 2015.

27 years ago tonight (1988) – Billy Smith made 30 saves for his final Coliseum shutout as the Isles blanked St. Louis 2-0.

Denis Potvin and Tomas Jonsson each scored third period goals for the Islanders; Mikko Makela assisted on both goals.

Smith recorded his 21st career shutout, tops among active NHL goalies as he improved to 6-1-2 in his last nine games.  Smitty also recorded his 298th career victory; he would become only the 9th 300 game winner in NHL history 19 days later.

The 300 win club, prior to Billy Smith: 

1Terry Sawchuk*447
2Jacques Plante*437
3Tony Esposito*423
4Glenn Hall*407
5Rogie Vachon355
6Gump Worsley*335
7Harry Lumley*330
8Turk Broda*302

(h/t Hockey-Reference.com) 
Two Islander Olympians, Todd Okerlund and Jeff Norton, made their NHL debuts.  Okerlund would play in only three other NHL games, all for the Isles, while Norton would go on to play 799 NHL games. 

Also on this date: (2003) – Jason Blake scored the winning goal in overtime as the Isles edged Buffalo 2-1.

Also on this date: (1980) – Richard Brodeur made his only start as an Islander, but that was a small part of the story, as Detroit built a 3-1 lead enroute to a 4-3 win over the Isles in a nationally televised matinee.  The big story was the two new Islander defensemen: Captain Denis Potvin returned to the lineup after missing over three months and Ken Morrow, six days removed from a Gold Medal, made his NHL debut.

When Morrow went into the Islander Hall of Fame (12-31-2011) I had a series of trivia questions about him.  How many can you answer?  Link to Morrow trivia

Here's Morrow's Hall-of-Fame ceremony:

Here's Al Trautwig on turning Gold into Silver:

All-time, the Isles have played eleven March 1st games at the Coliseum and finish with a 4-6-1 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale. 

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