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Islanders Rally Gives Coliseum One More Signature Moment



Anthony Beauvillier New York Islanders win at Nassau Coliseum

We’ve heard “the final game at Nassau Coliseum” more than a few times the last six years.

There were the final games in 2015 when it looked like the building was closing for good. But the Islanders returned part-time in 2018 and have called it their home full-time for one last go-around in 2021.

Heading into Wednesday’s Game 6 after a blowout loss in Tampa Bay, there was plenty of talk that this once again could be the final contest at Nassau Coliseum.

Rapid Reaction: Gutsy Islanders Force Game 7 with Dramatic Overtime Win

And through a period and a half, it looked like that was the case. The Tampa Bay Lightning held a 2-0 after Anthony Cirelli — he of last Game 6 fame — doubled the road team’s advantage. The Coliseum was unusually quiet. It looked ready to go out with a whimper.

But with 5:38 left in the middle period, the script was flipped in what turned into a 3-2 overtime win.

Mathew Barzal seemed to put his game to another level and fed Jordan Eberle into the slot, and the winger backhanded one past Andrei Vasilevskiy. And from there, it was all Islanders.

“You’re down 2-0 in Game 6. It doesn’t take much to mentally stay in it and be excited,” Barzal said. “Game 6 at home, in a tough spot, but we’re a resilient group and knew there was a lot of time left.

“We stuck with it.”

The crowd seemed rejuvenated and so did the team. In the third period the Islanders out-attempted Tampa Bay 13-8 at 5-on-5 play, according to Natural Stat Trick.

Barzal again was flying around the offensive zone when he spotted Scott Mayfield, who pinched in a roofed a game-tying goal late in the third period.

“The group that is playing right now, I love this group,” Barry Trotz said. “This building and what it’s meant to a number of players but probably more than anything, our fans. These are great moments.”

Momentum can be a fickle thing, and it was swinging all toward the Islanders. Until Matt Martin took a penalty with under six minutes to go in regulation. But even then, the Islanders killed it off. And looked poised to have a chance in overtime.

And a little over a minute in, they did take their chance and bury it when Anthony Beauvillier had a chance. The high-flying forward had not scored over his last 10 games. scored off a turnover. In fact, he had just one point in the semifinal heading into this game. But he took advantage of a giveaway in the slot and beat Vasilevskiy glove high.

Beauvillier succinctly summed up the raucous atmosphere.

“It feels amazing, to be honest,” he said. “That building coming into overtime was smelling like cigarettes and now it smells like beers.”

The Coliseum erupted. Beer cans and water bottles flew onto the ice. It was pure pandemonium.

It was pure Long Island.

It was the Islanders’ fourth overtime winner this postseason, and first at Nassau Coliseum. It was the first OT winner in Uniondale since Josh Bailey’s winner in the first round two years ago. And per statistician Eric Hornick, it’s the fourth-quickest overtime game in team history.

For a team filled with many postseason moments, forcing a Game 7 on home ice is another one to add to this building’s lore.

The Coliseum added one more bang.

“Going off the ice and everyone’s hugging each other, there’s beer cans all over, it’s quite a sight,” Trotz added. “These are moments you’ll remember and great memories to have. But we have to get another one.”