If Wednesday night’s game six victory turns out to be the Islanders’ final post-season game ever at Nassau Coliseum, and all of Islanders Country hopes there still a few more, then what a way it was for “The Barn” to go out. Facing elimination, the Islanders rallied from 2-0 down in the second period and beat the Lightning 3-2 in thanks to Anthony Beauvillier’s goal 1:08 in overtime that made the sellout crowd of 12,978 fans just lose their minds.
“These are great moments,” said Islanders Head Coach Barry Trotz. “Coming off the ice and everyone is hugging each other, there’s beer cans flying all over…it’s quite a sight and it was a moment that you’ll remember.”
It was certainly a moment that Beauvillier will remember as scored his first career playoff overtime winner and it sends the Islanders back to Tampa for game seven on Friday night (8pm NBCSN) with a trip to the Stanley Cup Final on the line. Beauvillier became the ninth player in Islanders post-season history to score an overtime goal when the team was facing elimination.
Beauvillier’s heroics basically blew the roof off of Nassau Coliseum and changed the scent in both the building and the series.
“It feels amazing to be honest,” said Beauvillier. “That building coming into overtime smelled like cigarettes and now it smells like beers. That place was going crazy. Everyone is happy that we’re going back to Tampa.”
Islanders vs Lightning (Series tied 3-3)
Game 1…Sunday June 13th…Islanders 2 Lightning 1…
Game 2…Tuesday June 15th…Lightning 4 Islanders 2…
Game 3…Thursday June 17th…Lightning 2 Islanders 1…
Game 4…Saturday June 19th…Islanders 3 Lightning 2…
Game 5…Monday June 21st…Lightning 8 Islanders 0…
Game 6…Wednesday June 23rd…Islanders 3 Lightning 2 F/OT…
Game 7…Friday June 25th…Islanders at Lightning…8pm NBCSN
To say the goal was historic in nature would be an understatement as it was just the second time in Islanders history that they trailed an elimination game by multiple goals before coming back to win. The other occasion was in game five on the 1982 Patrick Division Final against the Penguins when they trailed 3-1 in the third but came back to win in overtime on a John Tonelli goal. It was also the Isles’ seventh come from behind win of the 2021 playoffs which equals the second most in team post-season history (1977 and 1993) and is two behind the franchise record of nine in 1980.
There have been a number of memorable moments at the Coliseum over the last three years in the Lou Lamoriello/Barry Trotz era but now there have been back-to-back incredible moments with Ryan Pulock’s save in the final seconds that preserved a victory in game four and now Beauvillier’s overtime winner in game six.
So where does Wednesday night’s magical moment rank?
“It will be up there with one of the best,” said Trotz. “Because of the situation number one, the group that is playing right now…I love this group…the character of this group, and I would say this building and what it’s meant to a number of players but probably more than anything our fans.
And it was the fans who added to the moment by jumping up and down and screaming because the Islanders were able to find a way to live for another day. The fans also, in what you could say was a questionable decision in terms of safety, littered the ice with beer cans.
“That was amazing,” said Islanders forward Mat Barzal. “We got that first one and then they just got riled up and then obviously in overtime, I’ve never seen anything like that. A little dangerous but you don’t see that too often. We embraced it and that’s the Islanders faithful there…passionate and they get excited and it was good stuff.”
With the win in game six, the Islanders were able to duplicate a feat that they’ve done a number of times in their playoff history and that is win a game six at home to force a deciding game seven on the road. The last couple of times that they did that, 2002 against Toronto and 2015 against Washington, didn’t result in the Islanders winning the series. The last time that the Islanders won a game six at home and then went on to win game seven on the road was in 1993 when they upset the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champion Penguins thanks to David Volek’s overtime goal in Pittsburgh.
On Friday night, the current Islanders will get a chance to duplicate what the 1975, 1987 and 1993 Islanders were able to do and that is win a game seven on the road.
“Everyone wanted to go back to Tampa for game seven,” said Beauvillier. “We earned the opportunity to do that and everyone is excited.”
“These are big moments and great memories to have,” said Trotz. “We’ve got to get another one.”
Last post-season, the Islanders beat the Flyers in a game seven but that was in the bubble. This time around, the task is daunting and the challenge the Islanders have is to go to Tampa, where they lost game five 8-0 on Monday night and beat the defending Stanley Cup champs in their building.
Is there another moment that will allow the Islanders to play at least a couple of more playoff games at Nassau Coliseum?
We’ll find out on Friday.