We're nearing the 20th anniversary of David Volek and all that, but we've been over that history so much (and it was a Game 7, whereas tonight is a Game 6), that another bit of history may be more appropriate: As a franchise, the last four times the Islanders have returned to the Coliseum needing a win in Game 6 to stay alive, they've gotten it done each time.
Of course Volek's winner couldn't have happened if the Islanders hadn't won Game 6 at home first. (Of note: After Game 5 that year, Kevin Stevens pledged, "We're not going to come back here for Game 7." Oops.)
And the last time the Islanders won more than one game in a playoff series, in 2002, it necessitated a victory on Coliseum ice in Game 6.
Well before 2002 and 1993, however, was 1986-87. In the first round, the Islanders fell behind the Washington Capitals 3-1 in the series before pulling off one of those almost routine (in Capitals terms) reversals of a 3-1 deficit. That one ended with the Easter Epic quadruple-overtime winner by Pat LaFontaine in Game 7.
The next round, the Islanders again fell behind 3-1 in the series, this time to the Philadelphia Flyers, when they almost pulled it off again. The Islanders forced a Game 7 by winning Game 5 in Philadelphia 2-1 and Game 6 at the Coliseum by 4-2. They lost big in Game 7, however, and the Flyers went all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.
That 1986-87 season was Mike Bossy's last, at age 30, and his only non-50-goal season. He still scored 75 points in 68 games (with 38 goals), but injuries were taking their toll and both he and Denis Potvin missed several games in the playoffs. Bossy played in only six of the 14 playoff games; the 33-year-old Potvin played in 10.
Series Notes and Other Links
This has been a hectic series already, with several games featuring multiple lead changes sandwiched between two blowouts. If the Islanders win tonight, it will only get more hectic with a travel back-to-back for Game 7. (In contrast, had the Blues won last night, Game 7 wouldn't have been until Monday.)
Each team made multiple lineup changes for Game 5, some by choice and some by force. The Penguins' choices obviously worked out. The Islanders' are at least open to debate, so we'll see who of Jesse Joensuu, Radek Martinek and Thomas Hickey remain in the lineup tonight.
- No surprise, Evgeni Nabokov will start. The big question is whether Frans Nielsen can go.
- A simply fantastic read at Deadspin: The Nassau Coliseum Was Not A Dump: What The Isles Are Leaving Behind
- Grantland (midway down the page): In praise of the John Tavares contract.
- Nice tale about how Tavares found out about his Hart nod.
- Tonight's game, at 7 p.m., will again be on radio via WFAN. On TV, it's MSG+ or NBC Sports in the U.S., TSN and RDS on the north side of the border.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks in this thread.
There is nothing left to do but make this another great night at Nassau Coliseum.