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Ten most memorable Nassau Coliseum moments in Islanders history

New York Islanders right winger Bobby Nystrom exults

New York Islanders right winger Bobby Nystrom exults after scoring the overtime goal that clinched the 1980 Stanley Cup against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Nassau Coliseum on May 24, 1980. Credit: Newsday / David L. Pokress

1. Nystrom's goal

May 24, 1980: The perception of the Islanders being chronic underachievers changed forever on that Saturday afternoon, Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, when Bobby Nystrom converted John Tonelli's cross-ice feed at 7:11 of OT. The team celebrated by saluting its fans with the most famous trophy in sports.

2. The dynasty lives

April 13, 1982: The Islanders trailed the Penguins by two goals in the third period of a climactic first-round Game 5. But Mike McEwen scored at 14:33, John Tonelli tied it at 17:39 and won it on a rebound at 6:19 of OT. Penguins goalie Michel Dion said of the Isles, "They have the heart of a lion.''

3. Dynasty complete

May 17, 1983: The Oilers would have their day, but not this day. The Isles completed a sweep to win their fourth consecutive Cup. Playoff MVP Billy Smith called the Conn Smythe Trophy "something I'll cherish for the rest of my life.'' Al Arbour said his team had the most character of any team "in any sport.''

4. Two in a row

May 21, 1981: Completing a playoff blitz that established a handful of NHL records, the Islanders finished off the Minnesota North Stars, 5-1, in Game 5 of the Final. Butch Goring, the key trade acquisition in March, 1980, won the Conn Smythe. After the second consecutive Cup, Nystrom said, "Why not a dynasty?''

5. Bossy's 50 in 50

Jan 24, 1981: With two goals in the final 4 minutes, 10 seconds, including one with only 1:19 remaining in a game against the Nordiques, Mike Bossy achieved his goal of becoming the second player in NHL history to score 50 goals in 50 games (matching Maurice Richard, 1944-45 Canadiens).

6. Hunter incident

April 28, 1993: Pierre Turgeon suffered a shoulder separation and concussion when blindsided by the Caps' Dale Hunter, who was suspended 21 games and became public enemy No. 1 at the Coliseum. Still, years later, as owner/coach of the London Knights he spoke highly of L.I. to one of his players: John Tavares.

7. Back from the brink

May 7, 1975: Having made history by eliminating the Penguins after trailing in the series 3-0, the Isles avoided elimination in Game 4 of the semifinal against the Flyers when Jude Drouin scored at 1:53 of OT. The Islanders won twice more, forcing Game 7 and establishing the franchise's identity.

8. Bates' penalty shot

April 24, 2002: The 30-year-old Coliseum rocked and shook in Game 4 of the fiery playoff series with the Maple Leafs, especially when Shawn Bates beat Curtis Joseph on a penalty shot with 2:30 left. Bates inspired the fans, and vice versa. "It was just awesome out there,'' he said.

9. Arbour's 1,500th

Nov. 3, 2007: Arbour came out of retirement for one game (working the bench beside Ted Nolan) because the franchise wanted his career total to be a nice round number, and he led a 3-2 win over the Penguins. More important, it united generations of fans and players. Captain Bill Guerin said it was like playing for Vince Lombardi.

10. NHL comes to LI

Sept. 27, 1972: The franchise was transformed from idea into reality with the home debut, an exhibition against the Rangers. Glen Sather of the visitors scored the first goal, but the expansion team tied it 3-3 early in the third period of a 6-4 loss. "I think the Islanders are going to do OK,'' Rangers center Walt Tkaczuk said.

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