Islanders: Nassau Coliseum Moment Of The Month

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Islanders Insight
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Islanders

All season long, the New York Islanders’ marketing department will host special events focused on the team playing its last season at the only home it’s ever known: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

The remembering and celebrating continues here at Islanders Insight, as we’ll be paying homage to the Old Barn with a special Coliseum moment for each month of the regular season. That’s seven moments in all (if my math serves me), and we know that our list will lead to certain contention when all is said and done; there are untold historic moments that will inevitably be left out.

But we’re not here to argue. That’s what Twitter is for. Here, we can all band together for this exercise and acknowledge that each of these moments, while they might not be your personal favorites, have places in the hearts and souls of all Islanders fans, young or old.

For the month of October, as the team gets ready to embark on what it hopes will be a magical last season at the barn on Hempstead Turnpike, we go back to the night of Apr. 10, 1984, and one of the most memorable games in the storied rivalry between the Islanders and New York Rangers.

With the Islanders coming off their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup victory in the prior season, some noticeable cracks in their thus-far impenetrable armor were beginning to show.

Even with the team going 50-26-4 and edging the Washington Capitals for the Patrick Division crown, age and fatigue were starting to wear down the elder statesmen like Bryan Trottier (40-70-111), Mike Bossy (51-67-118), and captain Denis Potvin (22-63-85) as the playoffs began.

In the opening divisional round, the matchup put the Islanders against the cross-town rival Rangers in a best-of-five series.

The Rangers were good that year as well, running a record of 42-29-9 during the regular season. Seemingly outmatched on paper, they gave the favored Isles all they could handle from the opening faceoff. After a 4-1 Islanders win in the opening game of the series, the Blueshirts battled back and blanked the Islanders on Coliseum ice, 3-0, to even the series in Game 2.

They then proceeded to absolutely destroy the Isles at Madison Square Garden, taking Game 3 by a 7-2 score. The series seemed over. The dynastic run was going to come to a screeching halt in the worst way imaginable for Islanders fans: at the hands of the hated Rangers. And the Rangers, according to their postgame comments, were feeling pretty confident about that as well.

But there was still some fight left in those old, tired Isles legs. Some strength in the arms wearing the blue and orange. They showed up in a big way in Game 4, claiming another 4-1 victory and forcing a decisive Game 5 back at the Coliseum.

It was a true seesaw affair, with both Billy Smith and Glen Hanlon making spectacular saves on rush after rush when it seemed like everyone who suited up had suddenly forgotten how to play defense. With the Islanders nursing a 2-1 lead late in the third period, Don Maloney proceeded to score a controversial goal that came, by some accounts, from a high stick above the crossbar. But, the only opinions that mattered would be those of the officials, which held that it was a good goal.

The game headed to overtime. Because how else could this game have ended?

At 8:56 of OT, Brent Sutter came off the far boards and fired a low shot that was kicked into the slot by Hanlon. Defenseman Reijo Ruotsalainen slapped the puck to the near board side where Ken Morrow was pinching from from blue line. As Patrick Flatley provided a screen, Morrow ripped a low shot through the legs of Hanlon, ending the game and the series.

It was truly a classic playoff game and series between two heated rivals that ended in dramatic fashion, befitting its legacy. And it happened at the Coliseum.

 

 

Islanders: Nassau Coliseum Moment Of The Month
Andy Graziano