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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Road to the Cup - April 29, 1980 -- Isles 4, Buffalo 1 (Isles lead best-of-7 series 1-0)

40 Years Ago Tonight...

By Eric Hornick

Game 1
Isles 4, Buffalo 1
It had been a week since their last game when the Isles hit the ice at The Aud in Buffalo to open the semi-finals.

To this point in their history, Buffalo was a spot that the Isles could never win in regular season play (3-12-4) but they had won two playoff series over the Sabres (1976 and 1977) and had gone 3-2 in Buffalo in those two series,

The Sabres had had a tremendous regular season, finishing first in defense and third in offense while amassing 110 points; they also had  Scotty Bowman behind the bench and home-ice.

Rick Dudley gave the Sabres an early 1-0 lead and when Gord Lane took a major penalty for spearing the Isles were in a bit of trouble.  However late in the power play Bob Bourne flipped the game with an unassisted shorthanded tally.  Mike Bossy scored unassisted later in the period for a 2-1 Isles advantage after one.

John Tonelli scored the only goal of the second period and then scored the only goal of the third as the Isles coasted to a 4-1 win to grab the series lead.


The Scoring:
1st Period
05:23 BUF Rick Dudley (3) Craig Ramsay
13:09 NYI SH Bob Bourne (6)
17:42 NYI Mike Bossy (4)
2nd Period
09:56 NYI John Tonelli (5) Dave Langevin, Stefan Persson
3rd Period
11:10 NYI John Tonelli (6) Duane Sutter

The Series:
Game 1: Isles 4, Buffalo 2
Game 2: May 1 in Buffalo
(Isles lead series, 1-0)

Mini-Skinny: 
Buffalo outshot the Isles 32-29....  Billy Smith improved to 8-1 in the playoffs while Don Edwards (who had shared the Vezina with Bob Sauve) took the loss... The win was the Isles' eighth in the playoffs (8-2), one shy of the then-club record set in 1975...The Isles improved to 3-0 in series openers (they would win 15 of 16 game 1's during the four years they won the Cup...Bob Bourne and John Tonelli both tied Bryan Trottier for the team lead in playoff goals (6)...The Isles recorded their sixth straight road victory (2 in LA, 3 in Boston, 1 in Buffalo)

Overtime is Our Time!
1st round vs LA: Game 3 (W 4-3 Morrow 6:55)
2nd round vs Bos: Game 1 (W 2-1 Gillies 1:02)
2nd round vs Bos: Game 2 (W 5-4 Bourne 1:24) 
2nd round vs Bos: Game 4 (L 4-3 O'Reilly 17:13) 

Isles Scoring Leaders thru 10 Games
Bryan Trottier 6-9-15
John Tonelli 6-5-11
Bob Bourne 6-4-10
Butch Goring 2-7-9

Isles +/- Leaders thru 10 Games
Dave Langevin +10
Bryan Trottier +8
Stefan Persson +8

Isles Penalty Minute Leaders thru 10 Games
Garry Howatt 63
Duane Sutter 46
Clark Gillies 44

The Isles had guaranteed themselves a split of the opening pair in Buffalo.  They had never won the first two games of the semi-finals before this; they would have a shot two nights later.  It would just take a while.

We'll pick up the story (with lots of video) on "May Day, May Day" (May 1st).

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Road to the Cup - April 22, 1980 -- Isles 4, Boston 2 (Isles win best-of-7 series 4-1)

40 Years Ago Tonight...

By Eric Hornick

Game 5
Isles 4, Boston 2
It was on to the semi-finals for the Never Say Dielanders, who rallied from a 2-0 deficit for a 4-2 win at Boston Garden.  The win clinched the series for the Isles, 4 games to 1.

Wayne Cashman and Peter McNab scored in the first 3:28 to give Boston the early 2-0 lead, as the Bruins, who were 20 seconds away from elimination less than 24 hours earlier seized the early momentum.

It stayed that way for the rest of the first and most of the second, when Stefan Persson got the Isles on the board. 

Emblematic of this series, there was another big fight midway through the second period as Duane Sutter and Clark Gillies fought with Al Secord and Mike Milbury. Later in the session, Ray Bourque (yes, Ray Bourque) received a triple-minor after he exchanged sticks and rough stuff with Garry Howatt (who received four minutes).  Bourque was still in the penalty box when Persson's goal changed the game.

Here's a bit of the fight from TV-38 (with Fred Cusick on the call); the clip begins with Milbury and Sutter already on the ice.

Still, the Isles trailed 2-1 in a usually unfriendly building heading to the third period, but this was a different Islander team.  Duane Sutter tied the game early in the period and just under six minutes into the period Clark Gillies scored what turned out to be the series-winning goal. Denis Potvin scored the final goal of the series with at 14:27; with that goal, School Was Out for the Bruins and the Isles had advanced. 

Here are some highlights from Dick Irvin on Hockey Night in Canada:

The Scoring:
1st Period
01:31 BOS Wayne Cashman (3) Ray Bourque, Craig MacTavish
03:28 BOSPP Peter McNab (8) Wayne Cashman, Rick Middleton

2nd Period
17:23 NYI PP Stefan Persson (2) Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy

3rd Period
02:38 NYI Duane Sutter (1) Bob Lorimer, Butch Goring
05:58 NYI Clark Gillies (4) Duane Sutter, Butch Goring
14:27 NYI Denis Potvin (1) Mike Bossy

The Series:
Game 1: Isles 2, Boston 1 (OT)
Game 2: Isles 5, Boston 4 (OT)
Game 3: Isles 5, Boston 3
Game 4: Boston 4, Isles 3 (OT)
Game 5: Isles 4, Boston 2
(Isles win series, 4-1)

Mini-Skinny: 
Each team had 24 shots on goal....  Billy Smith improved to 7-1 in the playoffs.. The Isles had gone 3-8-4 in their prior 15 regular season games in Boston before winning all three games in the series....There were 416 penalty minutes in the series (Boston 209, Isles 207).

Overtime is Our Time!
1st round vs LA : Game 3  (W 4-3 Morrow 6:55)
2nd round vs Bos: Game 1 (W 2-1 Gillies 1:02)
2nd round vs Bos: Game 2 (W 5-4 Bourne 1:24) 
2nd round vs Bos: Game 4 (L 4-3 O'Reilly 17:13) 

Isles Scoring Leaders thru 9 Games
Bryan Trottier 6-9-15
John Tonelli 4-5-9
Bob Bourne 5-4-9
Butch Goring 2-7-9

Isles +/- Leaders thru 9 Games
Bryan Trottier +8
Dave Langevin +7
Gord Lane +7

Isles Penalty Minute Leaders thru 9 Games
Garry Howatt 63
Duane Sutter 46
Clark Gillies 44

The Isles had advanced to the Semi-Finals for the fifth time in sixth seasons. They would have a lot of time to prepare; while their eventual opponent the Sabres had already won their series, the NHL reseeded teams in each round.  It would take a Minnesota upset of Montreal (in game 7) to create an Islander-Sabre series for the third time in five years.  That series began in Buffalo on April 29th, so we'll pick up the story next Wednesday, the 40th anniversary of Game 1.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Road to the Cup - April 21, 1980 -- Boston 4, Isles 3 (OT) (Isles lead best-of-7 series 3-1)

40 Years Ago Tonight...

By Eric Hornick

Game 4
Boston 4, Isles 3 (OT)
he Islanders were ready to sweep the Bruins and move on to the semi-finals, but Terry O’Reilly had other ideas. O’Reilly scored at 17:13 of overtime as the Bruins defeated the Isles 4-3 to cut the Isles lead to 3 games to 1.

Ray Bourque had given the Bruins a 1-0 lead, but Mike Bossy, returning to the lineup after missing five games with an injury scored twice for the Isles to turn the advantage in the Isles’ favor thru 40 minutes.

Peter McNab, who had a big series, tied the score for the Bruins early in the third but when Clark Gillies scored with 6:20 to play it looked like the Isles were poised to advance.

With Gerry Cheevers on the bench, a former Ranger, Rick Middleton, tied the game at a familiar time to Islander fans: 19:40 of the third.  The Isles were outshot 32-17 through regulation but turned the tables in overtime, outshooting the Bruins 13-7.  However, O’Reilly’s goal gave the Bruins the win.
It was the Isles' only home playoff overtime in the Cup era; they wouldn’t lose another home playoff game in overtime for 13 years.

The Scoring:
1st Period
09:21 BOS Ray Bourque (2) Peter McNab, Brad McCrimmon
12:03 NYI Mike Bossy (2) Bryan Trottier, Stefan Persson

2nd Period
08:18 NYI PP Mike Bossy (3) Bryan Trottier, Clark Gillies

3rd Period
03:09 BOS Peter McNab (7) Terry O'Reilly, Don Marcotte
13:20 NYI Clark Gillies (3) Butch Goring, Dave Langevin
19:40 BOS Rick Middleton (4) Terry O'Reilly, Brad Park

1st OT Period
17:13 BOS Terry O'Reilly (3) Peter McNab, Dick Redmond

The Series:
Game 1: Isles 2, Boston 1 (OT)
Game 2: Isles 5, Boston 4 (OT)
Game 3: Isles 5, Boston 3
Game 4: Boston 4, Isles 3 (OT)
Game 5: At Boston April 22
(Isles lead series, 3-1)

Mini-Skinny: 
The Isles were outshot 39-30....  Billy Smith suffered his first loss of the post-season, dropping to 6-1 in the playoffs.. There was only one fight (Bobby Nystrom vs. Brad McCrimmon). McCrimmon later served as an Islander assistant; he was killed in the 2011 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash.... The loss ended a six-game Islander winning streak in overtime, dating back to Lanny McDonald (TOR) defeating the Isles in game 7 in 1978 in the only Game 7 the Isles have ever hosted.

Overtime is (Usually) Our Time!
1st round vs LA : Game 3  (W 4-3 Morrow 6:55)
2nd round vs Bos: Game 1 (W 2-1 Gillies 1:02)
2nd round vs Bos: Game 2 (W 5-4 Bourne 1:24) 
2nd round vs Bos: Game 4 (L 4-3 O'Reilly 17:13) 

Isles Scoring Leaders thru 8 Games
Bryan Trottier 6-8-14
John Tonelli 4-5-9
Bob Bourne 5-4-9

Isles +/- Leaders thru 8 Games
Gord Lane +7
Bryan Trottier +7
Dave Langevin +7

Isles Penalty Minute Leaders thru 8 Games
Garry Howatt 57
Duane Sutter 41
Clark Gillies 39

The Bruins had life; at least for 24 hours.  It was up to the Islanders to extinguish that the following night in Boston. We'll tell that story on Wednesday, the 40th anniversary of Game 5.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Road to the Cup - April 19, 1980 -- Isles 5, Boston 3 (Isles lead best-of-7 series 3-0)

40 Years Ago Tonight...

By Eric Hornick

Game 3
Isles 5, Boston 3
Bryan Trottier scored two goals and added two assists while Bob Nystrom scored a goal and added two assists as the as the Isles took a 3-0 lead in their quarterfinal series, defeating the Boston Bruins 5-3 before a raucous crowd at the Nassau Coliseum.

Following the brawls of game 2, the first period was relatively calm.  However, three fights renewed hostilities in the second period as Duane Sutter fought Mike Milbury and Clark Gillies twice fought Terry O'Reilly.  O'Reilly would be tossed in the third after he fought Garry Howatt.

Don Marcotte had given the Bruins a 1-0 lead midway through the first but John Tonelli and Bryan Trottier responded to five the Isles the lead before the first period ended. 

With Mike Bossy still out injured, Trottier would later earn assists on goals by Bob Bourne and Bob Nystrom, before those two players set up Trotts for his second goal of the game to essentially put the game on ice.

The Scoring:
1st Period
09:52 BOS Don Marcotte (2) Terry O'Reilly, Peter McNab
12:16 NYI John Tonelli (4) Alex McKendry, Wayne Merrick
17:08 NYI PP Bryan Trottier (5) Clark Gillies, Bob Nystrom
2nd Period
06:57 NYI Bob Bourne (5) Bryan Trottier
09:48 BOS Peter McNab (5) Rick Smith
15:54 NYI Bob Nystrom (3) Bob Bourne, Bryan Trottier
3rd Period
04:51 NYI Bryan Trottier (6) Bob Bourne, Bob Nystrom
12:15 BOS PP Peter McNab (6) Dwight Foster, Brad Park

The Series:
Game 1: Isles 2, Boston 1 (OT)
Game 2: Isles 5, Boston 4 (OT)
Game 3: Isles 5, Boston 3
Game 4: At Isles 4/21
(Isles lead series, 3-0)

Mini-Skinny: 
Each team had 35 shots on goal....  Billy Smith improved to 6-0 in the playoffs, besting Gerry Cheevers for the third straight game.... After 254 penalty minutes in game two, three were only 76 in game three (31 to Terry O'Reilly)... The Isles had a 3-0 lead in a series for only the time in their history; both of the previous series (1977 vs. Buffalo, 1979 vs. Chicago) ended in a sweep.

Overtime is Our Time!
1st round vs LA : Game 3  (W 4-3 Morrow 6:55)
2nd round vs Bos: Game 1 (W 2-1 Gillies 1:02)
2nd round vs Bos: Game 2 (W 5-4 Bourne 1:24) 

Isles Scoring Leaders thru 7 Games
Bryan Trottier 6-6-12
John Tonelli 4-5-9
Bob Bourne 5-4-9

Isles +/- Leaders thru 7 Games
Gord Lane +9
Bryan Trottier +8
Dave Langevin +6

Isles Penalty Minute Leaders thru 7 Games
Garry Howatt 55
Duane Sutter 41
Clark Gillies 39
The Isles were in control of the series and in position to sweep the Big Bad Bruins.  Terry O'Reilly had other ideas and we'll tell that story on Tuesday, the 40th anniversary of Game 4.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Road to the Cup - April 17, 1980 -- Isles 5, Boston 4 (OT) (Isles lead best-of-7 series 2-0)

40 Years Ago Tonight...

By Eric Hornick

Game 2
Isles 5, Boston 4 (OT)
In one of the most memorable games of the Cup era, Bob Bourne scored 1:24 into overtime to break a 4-4 tie as the Isles took a 2-0 lead in their quarterfinal series with the Boston Bruins.

The second game in Boston was punctuated by a bench-clearing brawl at the end of the first period, following four other fights earlier in the period, including two between Clark Gillies and Terry O'Reilly.

The first period ended with a total of 248 penalty minutes (124 on each team) ; the 248 combined minutes remains a record to this day.  Only the Rangers (125 on 4/9/1981 in LA) have ever had more.  Each team had only 13 players available past the first period as Bob Lorimer, Garry Howatt, Gord Lane, Duane Sutter, Al Secord, Wayne Cashman, Stan Jonathan and a Bruin defenseman named Mike Milbury were all ejected.

It was the only time in the Cup era that the Isles played consecutive games that went to overtime and the Isles needed just 2:26 of extra time to win the two games.   It wouldn't be the last time that Gillies and Bourne would be tied together; their children (Brianna Gillies and Justin Bourne) were married in 2011.

Here's the entire game, as broadcast on TV-38 in Boston:



Here's the fight with 7 seconds to play in the first period, that preceded the large brawl (from Steve Albert and Ed Westfall on WOR).  Mike Milbury is yapping, but it's the second bout of O'Reilly and Gillies.

And here's the Islander call of the brawl that followed:

And one more -- here are the two goals scored 15 seconds apart as the game goes from 3-3 to 4-4 in a hurry:

Here's the winning goal, as called by Steve Albert and Ed Westfall on WOR.


The Scoring:
1st Period
16:08 NYI Bryan Trottier (4) Ken Morrow, Bob Bourne

2nd Period
01:32 BOS Rick Smith (1) Rick Middleton
10:40 NYI John Tonelli (3) Stefan Persson
12:00 BOS Brad McCrimmon (1) Dick Redmond, Dwight Foster
14:33 NYI SH Lorne Henning (1) Bryan Trottier, Denis Potvin
16:55 BOS Brad Park (3)

3rd Period
10:51 BOS Bob Miller (3) Ray Bourque, Don Marcotte
11:06 NYI Bob Nystrom (2) John Tonelli, Bryan Trottier

Overtime
01:24 NYI Bob Bourne (4)



The Series:
Game 1: Isles 2, Boston 1 (OT)
Game 2: Isles 5, Boston 4 (OT)
Game 3: At Isles 4/19
Game 4: At Isles 4/21
(Isles lead series, 1-0)

Mini-Skinny: 
The Isles were outshot 33-23; it was the first time in the playoffs that they had been outshot...  Billy Smith improved to 5-0 in the playoffs, besting Gerry Cheevers....This was the only OT goal in Bob Bourne's playoff career...It was the fifth game in six nights for Boston...There were only three minor penalties called in the final two periods; the 254 combined penalty minutes set a Stanley Cup record at the time (it's now third); the Isles' 128 was the most-ever at the time (it's now tied-7th)...The Isles didn't win two regular seasons in Boston in a regular season until 1999-2000 but did it in 24 hours in the playoffs...Neither team led for more than six minutes at a time as there were four ties;  Bob Nystrom forced overtime with a goal just 15 seconds after Bob Miller put the Bruins ahead...Lorne Henning's goal was his first of three in the 1980 playoffs; all three were shorthanded.  Henning is one of only six players in Stanley Cup history to score three shorthanded goals in a playoff year.

Overtime is Our Time!
1st round vs LA : Game 3  (W 4-3 Morrow 6:55)
2nd round vs Bos: Game 1 (W 2-1 Gillies 1:02)
2nd round vs Bos: Game 2 (W 5-4 Bourne 1:24) 

The Isles were in control of the series and heading back to Long Island.  We'll tell that story on Sunday, the 40th anniversary of Game 3.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Road to the Cup - April 16, 1980 -- Isles 2, Boston 1 (Isles lead best-of-7 series 1-0)

40 Years Ago Tonight...

By Eric Hornick

Game 1
Isles 2, Boston 1 (OT)
 
After their first round win over Los Angeles, the Isles needed to wait nearly 48 hours to find that the Bruins were their opponents; two days later they were at Boston Garden to face the Big Bad B's.

Clark Gillies converted a pass from Butch Goring for the winning goal just 1:02 into overtime as the Isles defeated the Bruins 2-1 to take the opening game of the series.

Following a scoreless first two periods, Peter McNab scored in the opening minute of the third to give the Bruins the lead.  Garry Howatt tied it less than three minutes later to set the stage for Gillies in overtime.

The Scoring:
1st Period
None

2nd Period
None

3rd Period
00:51 BOS Peter McNab (4) Brad Park, Mike Milbury
03:49 NYI Garry Howatt (3) Bryan Trottier, Bob Nystrom

Overtime
01:02 NYI Clark Gillies (2) Butch Goring, Gord Lane

Here's Jethro's overtime goal.  Brad Park, who found himself in the goal after JP Parise's winner five years earlier, figures into this one as well.  Steve Albert and Ed Westfall had the call on Channel 9:


The Series:
Game 1: Isles 2, Boston 1 (OT)
Game 2: At Boston 4/17
Game 3: At Isles 4/19
Game 4: At Isles 4/21
(Isles lead series, 1-0)

Mini-Skinny: 
The Isles out-shot Boston 27-23; they also out-shot the Kings in all four games in the series.  Billy Smith improved to 4-0 in the playoffs, besting Gerry Cheevers...There were no fights in the game, but that would totally change in game two the following night...This was the only OT goal in Clark Gillies' playoff career...It was the 4th game in five nights for Boston. .. It was the second shortest OT game in club history to that point; 40 years later it is still one of only 50 Stanley Cup games to be settled in the first minute of overtime....At the time, Butch Goring (who assisted on Gillies' goal) had the earliest overtime goal vs. Boston in Cup play,  Alexandre Burrows would break that record in 2011.

Overtime is Our Time!
1st round vs LA : Game 3  (W 4-3 Morrow 6:55)
2nd round vs Bos: Game 1 (W 2-1 Gillies 1:02)

There were a lot of back-to-backs in early rounds of the playoffs in that era. Game 2, the Bruins' 5th game in 6 days, would be one of the most memorable in Islanders history.  We'll tell that story tomorrow. 

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Road to the Cup - April 12, 1980 -- Isles 6, Los Angeles 0 (Isles win best-of-5 series 3-1)


40 Years Ago Tonight...
By Eric Hornick

Game 4
Isles 6, Los Angeles 0
 
Throughout the Cup era, former Islander first round picks would play huge roles --from Denis Potvin to Clark Gillies and from Mike Bossy to the Sutter brothers.  Even Paul Boutilier and Steve Tambellini had their moments, and have their names on the trophy to prove it.  

But 40 years ago tonight was the the time for Alex McKendry (yes, Alex McKendry) to shine.  McKendry was a first round pick in 1976, and like the rest of the bottom-third of that first round, had a rather pedestrian NHL career as he played in only 46 regular season games and six playoff games.  It's what he did in the third period of this game that Isles fans should remember.

1978-79 Alex McKendry Game Worn New York Islanders Jersey ...
McKendry scored two goals and added an assist in the third period (all in an 8:29 span) as the Isles blew open a close game for a series-clinching 6-0 win over the Kings at the old Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California.

McKendry, playing his second game of the series, had only four career playoff points, and three were in this period as the Isles completed the first-round series win.

The Scoring:
1st Period
15:05 NYI Garry Howatt (2) Bob Nystrom, Lorne Henning

2nd Period
09:27 NYI PP Bob Bourne (3) Gord Lane, Bob Nystrom

3rd Period
01:46 NYI Alex McKendry (1) John Tonelli
05:22 NYI John Tonelli (2) Alex McKendry, Wayne Merrick
06:17 NYI Butch Goring (2)
10:15 NYI Alex McKendry (2) John Tonelli

The Series:
Game 1: Isles 8, Los Angeles 1
Game 2: Los Angeles 6, Isles 3
Game 3: Isles 4, Los Angeles 3
Game 4: Isles 6, Los Angeles 0
(Isles win series, 3-1)

Mini-Skinny:
Bob Bourne and Bryan Trottier had three goals in the series to share the team lead; John Tonelli (2-4-6) and Butch Goring (2-3-5) led the Isles in points...The two players traded for Butch -- Dave Lewis and Billy Harris -- combined for one assist and a -9 rating in the series. .....The Isles outshot Los Angeles 32-20; they outshot the Kings in all four games in the series.  Billy Smith improved to 3-0 in the series and cemented himself as the Isles number one playoff goalie; it was his second career shutout and remains to this day the most one-sided shutout win in Islander history.... Garry Howatt and Dave Langevin fought Steve Carlson and Dean Hopkins with nine minutes to play, following a Langevin spear.  It was the 4th and 5th fight of the 3-game series. ..The 31 goals scored in this series are the most-ever in an Islander 4-game series; at the time it was the third-highest scoring 4-game series in Stanley Cup history.

The Isles would have a few days to get ready for the quarter-finals.  In both 1980 and 1981 the playoff teams were seeded 1-16 and were re-seeded after each round.  The Isles' eventual opponent in round 2 were the Boston Bruins, but they had lost earlier in the evening to fall behind Pittsburgh two games to one.

The Bruins would eventually advance but when the Isles hit Boston Garden ice on April 16th, the Bs would be playing their fourth game in five days.

We'll pick up the story with two remarkable games in Boston.