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Saturday, April 11, 2020

Road to the Cup - April 11, 1980 -- Isles 4, Los Angeles 3 OT (Isles lead best-of-5 series 2-1)

40 Years Ago Tonight...
By Eric Hornick

Game 3
Isles 4, Los Angeles 3 (OT)

On this day in 1975, JP Parise scored one of the most memorable goals in Islander history, beating Eddie Giacomin at 11 seconds of OT for a series-clinching win over the Rangers.

That goal however might not be as important as the goal Ken Morrow scored 6:55 into overtime on this night in 1980, as the Isles rallied from a 3-1 third period deficit to defeat the Kings 4-3 at the old Forum in Inglewood, California.

Remember - this was a best of five series and the Islanders were without Mike Bossy, who had been injured in Game 2.  (His replacement, Alex McKendry, would have a big moment in game 4) so when the Isles headed to the dressing room after 40 minutes it felt like not only was their season on the line, but so was the very composition of this team, which had been beaten in playoff series in 1978 by Toronto and in 1979 by the Rangers.

Back in the East, it was well after midnight when Clark Gillies and Butch Goring (playing his first game in Los Angeles since being traded by the Kings) scored goals 3:12 apart in the third period to get the Isles even.

That sent the game to overtime, and destiny to the stick of Ken Morrow, who less than seven weeks earlier had won gold in Lake Placid.  Morrow wasn't a big goal scorer - except in the playoffs of course - and his first professional goal gave the Isles the win.

(That's the radio call of Bob Lawrence and Jean Potvin; six weeks later Jean's "Alright" would be replaced with "Yes","Yes".  Tim Ryan and Ed Westfall had the call on Channel 9.)

The Scoring:
1st Period
01:31 LAK Mark Hardy (1)
03:47 NYI PP Bob Bourne (2) Denis Potvin
06:42 LAK PP Charlie Simmer (1) Mark Hardy, Marcel Dionne

2nd Period
10:47 LAK Charlie Simmer (2) Dave Taylor, Marcel Dionne

3rd Period
03:22 NYI Clark Gillies (1) Butch Goring, Duane Sutter
06:34 NYI Butch Goring (1) Denis Potvin

1st OT Period
06:55 NYI Ken Morrow (1)

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: April 12 @ Los Angeles
(Isles lead 2-1)

The Isles improved to 9-3 all-time in overtime with their fourth straight win; it was their first road overtime win since May 3, 1977 in Montreal - Billy Harris won that game but was on the losing side in this one... Dave Lewis, who was traded to LA once the Isles determined that Morrow was ready to play in the NHL was on-ice for the winning goal as was another former Islander, Andre St. Laurent.....The Isles outshot Los Angeles 38-23 as the starting goalies (Billy Smith and Mario Lessard) both made it through the game for the first time in the series. ...Clark Gillies fought Jerry "King Kong" Korab in the second period; it was only a warmup for what would happen the following week in Boston...Charlie Simmer, who had scored 56 times in the regular season, scored twice for LA.  Nine months later he would race Mike Bossy towards 50 in 50.

On Long Island, a 16-year-old's screams awoke his parents after Morrow's goal; hopefully they have since forgiven me.  The Isles had overcome a huge obstacle.  It was really the last time in that playoffs that they didn't feel like they were in command of a series, and they had a chance to eliminate Los Angeles 24 hours later.

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