No. 1 – May 24, 1980 – NY Islanders 5, Philadelphia 4 (OT)
Nearly four decades later, Bob Nystrom still isn’t tired of talking about the goal that changed his life and started a dynasty. The details are forever etched in his memory. He crashed the net and redirected a pass from John Tonelli at 7:11 of overtime for a 5-4 win in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final against Philadelphia at Nassau Coliseum, propelling the eighth-year team to its first of four straight NHL titles.
“I never knew the Coliseum was that big. For all the people I’ve met over the years that said they were there, it must’ve been a much bigger building than we thought,” Nystrom joked. “I always tell people I thank my lucky stars for being able to score that goal. It’s really been unbelievable for all of the things I’ve gotten from that.”
Nystrom’s first of two goals in Game 6 gave the Isles a 4-2 lead through two periods, before the Flyers scored twice in the third to force the extra session. “We were all deflated between the third period and overtime, but then everyone would say, ‘OK, who’s going to be the hero here?’ ” he said. “I actually went into the bathroom, I’d gotten a scalpel out of the medical room and carved a notch in my stick, signifying that I was going to score the goal.”
Nystrom never recovered that stick after tossing it away during the raucous celebration.
“The thing that sticks out in my mind is just before that I went in and hit Bob Dailey, hit him high and maybe a little bit dirty,” said Nystrom, who had 21 penalty minutes in the game. “If I would’ve gotten the penalty and we lost the game, I would’ve been the goat. As it turned out, I was able to score and be the hero.”
No. 2 – April 11, 1975 – NY Islanders 4, NY Rangers 3 (OT)
J.P. Parise’s goal 11 seconds into overtime in 1975 secured the Isles’ first playoff series victory. They then beat Pittsburgh after trailing 3-0 in Round 2.
No. 3 – May 14, 1993 – NY Islanders 4, Pittsburgh 3 (OT)
After The Pens tied Game 7 with a minute left in the third, David Volek’s OT-winner completed a stunning upset of two-time defending champions.
GREATEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE OF ALL-TIME
Jan. 24, 1981 – NY Islanders 7, Quebec 4
Only one player, the great Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard, had done it before in the NHL. But another Montreal native and legendary scorer notched his 50th goal in the 50th game of the season when Bossy scored twice against Quebec at Nassau Coliseum. The Isles sniper netted both goals in the third period, including No. 50 with 1:29 left.
Wayne Gretzky shattered the mark the following season, reaching 50 in Edmonton’s 39th game, and No. 99 did it three times in his career. Mario Lemieux and Brett Hull (twice) later also accomplished the feat.