In narrowing down my list to just five moments from 2015, I had to cut some cool stuff out. One was John Tavares' performance on January 9th against the Devils, in which he scored the game-tying and overtime goals and did the "Yes, Yes, Yes!" chant in enemy territory. Another was Tavares' smooth OT winner against the Leafs in his hometown on March 9th.
But if we're talking Tavares overtime magic, only one goal was and will remain truly memorable forever. In the first playoff game in the final season at Nassau Coliseum, Tavares carved himself a small space among Islanders' overtime playoff scorers, a list that's packed with the kind of names you want to be surrounded by.
With the series tied at a game apiece and Game 3 heading to OT, Tavares didn't even bother to wait until everyone sat down before he slipped the puck past Braden Holtby's short side and gave the Islanders their first series lead in god knows how many years.
Dom called it "Suitable for Framing" and it still is. The emotion and the energy are still palpable, as is the sound of Doc Emrick's yelling over the crush of noise off the Coliseum's low ceiling.
The goal is the second fastest overtime playoff goal in Islanders history, only four seconds slower than J.P. Parise's legendary goal against the Rangers in the 1975 playoffs. The next two on the list are Clark Gillies and Bob Bourne, who scored 1:02 and 1:24, respectively, into overtime in two games against the Bruins the 1980 playoffs. Nice company.
The thing I'll always remember about this goal is that, at some point during the intermission show, NBCSN put up a graphic of the current players on each team who had scored playoff overtime goals. The Caps, being a pretty playoff tested bunch, had six or seven names on their list. The Islanders had zero. I'm sure that NBCSN only meant to relay relevant information, but in that tense moment, it felt to me like unnecessary trolling on behalf of one of the network's favored teams.
Then, 15 seconds into the start of the session, the Islanders had one overtime playoff goal scorer. I may have been a little bit fired up (and NSFW) immediately after the win:
Put that name on your fucking playoff OT goal list, @NBCSN.— Dan Saraceni (@cultureoflosing) April 19, 2015
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know how the series turned out and we'll discuss it a little further in our next 2015 Moments installment.
But I'll never forget living this moment. When the hockey world heard a thunderous noise and turned all of its eyes towards Long Island to see a piece of the Islanders playoff history book being written.