Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Top 20 Goals in New York Islander History

Twenty years ago today, the Islander’s David Volek scored an overtime goal in game 7 against Mario Lemieux’s heavily favored Pittsburgh Penguins.  It was the last time the Islanders won a playoff series.  This past weekend, that nearly changed.  The Islanders played a tough and entertaining series and gave Sidney Crosby’s heavily favored Penguins all that they could handle – almost.   This time, the Penguins provided the overtime drama, winning the series in six games and leaving Islander fans to wonder what could have been.   But this exciting series managed to wake up the echos of the doomed Nassau Coliseum and  and stir up a lot of great memories.

Here are the 20 biggest goals in New York Islander history:

20.    Ed Westfall,  October 7, 1972 - Beginnings

Eddie Westfall scores the first goal in Islander history in a 3-2 loss to the Atlanta Flames. 

19.  John Tavares, October 3, 2009 -  First Goal

OK, maybe it’s too soon to include this one, but I have a feeling that John Tavares first NHL goal may one day be remembered by hockey fans as a historic occasion.

18.   Brian Trottier, April 18, 1982 – OT vs. the Rangers

The Islanders and Rangers were tied at one game apiece in the Division Finals versus the Rangers.   In overtime, Bryan Trottier beat Eddie Mio at an impossible angle to win game 3.  The Islanders went on to win the series and sweep the next two to capture their 3rd Stanley Cup.

17.  Denis Potvin, October 27, 1973  Ranger Killer

Rookie Denis Potvin scores his first NHL goal as the Islanders beat the Rangers for the first time, 3-2.   The rivalry was on.

16.   Pierre Turgeon, April 2, 1993 -  50th at the Garden

With a playoff berth hanging in the balance, the Islanders beat the Rangers in overtime at MSG when Pierre Turgeon scored his 50th goal of the season.  This was the beginning of the magical playoff run of 1993.

15.  Bob Bourne, April 17, 1980  Brawling and Winning

Islander fans remember game 2 of the Playoff series against the Bruins because of the fights between Clark Gillies and Terry O’Reilly and a bench clearing brawl that toughened the Islanders on the way to their first Stanley Cup win.  This classic game was won in overtime on a slap shot by Bob Bourne

14.   Jude Druin, May 7, 1975 – Backs to the Wall

In 1975, the Islanders, playing in the playoffs for the first time in team history, faced elimination 9 times over three playoff rounds.  After coming back from a 3-0 deficit to beat Pittsburgh, they dropped the first 3 games to the Flyers before winning game 4 on a dramatic goal by Jude Drouin.  They won 2 more games before losing to the Flyers in game 7. 

13.  Denis Potvin, May 13, 1980 -  First Blood

It’s easy to forget that when the Islanders first played in the Stanley Cup finals, they were the underdog against the Flyers.  That changed when the Isles won the first game in overtime on a goal by Denis Potvin.

12.  Shawn Bates, April 28, 2002  Penalty Shot!

When Shawn Bates won game 4 against in Toronto on this penalty shot, he might have provided the most exciting moment in Nassau Coliseum in the last 20 years (not counting Bruce Springsteen concerts).  

11.  Ray Ferraro, April 24, 1993 – Overtime Encore

In the thrilling 1993 first round playoff series against Washington, the Islanders won three straight games in overtime.  Ray Ferraro had 2 of the game-winners, including a double-overtime goal to capture game 4.

10.  Mike Bossy, May 13, 1982 - Unstoppable

The greatest scorer in Islander history, Bossy scored 85 goals in the Stanley Cup playoffs – none finer than this acrobatic goal against the Canucks in the 1982 Stanley Cup finals.

9.  Ed Westfall, April 26, 1975 – Completing the Comeback

With 5:18 left in regulation, Westfall scores against Pittsburgh to win the playoff series in game seven, after trailing 3 games to none. 

8.  John Tonelli, February 29, 1982 – 15 in a row

John Tonelli beats Chico Resch of the Rockies with 47 seconds left to give the Islanders 15 straight wins, an NHL record.

7.  Ken Morrow, April 10, 1984 -  Drive for Five

Playoff overtime tends to produce unlikely heroes.  In 1984, it was defenseman Ken Morrow who scored the game winner in the deciding game 5 against the Rangers.

6.   Mike Bossy, January 24, 1981 – 50 in 50

In the final 5 minutes, Bossy scores twice to become the 2nd NHL player in history, and the first since Rocket Richard, to score 50 goals in 50 games. 

5.  Pat Lafontaine, April 18, 1987 – The Easter Epic

At 1:58 a.m., Pat Lafontaine scores in the fourth overtime period against the Capitals to end the longest game 7 in NHL history.

4.   David Volek,  May 14, 1993 -  No Threepeat for Lemieux

It was 20 years ago today…..

3.  John Tonelli, April 13, 1982 -  Mr. Clutch

Before last week, the Islanders had played 3 classic series against the Penguins.  There was 1993 (David Volek) and 1975 (comeback from 3-0) and in between was a classic first round match-up in 1982.  In the deciding game, the Islanders trailed Pittsburgh 2-1 with less than 3 minutes to play.  John Tonelli tied the game at 2:21 and then won it in overtime.  

2.  J.P. Parise, April 11, 1975 – OT win against Rangers

The upstart Islanders upset the Rangers in their first ever playoff series on a goal 11 seconds into overtime.  This was the goal that put the franchise on the map. 

1.   Bobby Nystrom, May 24, 1980 – 7:11

Of course.  Mr. Islander was clutch – he scored 4 playoff overtime goals in his career but none bigger than the one which first brought theStanley Cup to Long Island. 

Ah Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in.