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Islanders History

Islanders: Watch The ‘Easter Epic’ From 1987

SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 18: A shot of the playoffs logo prior to the game between the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks in Game Four of the Western Conference First Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on April 18, 2017 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 18: A shot of the playoffs logo prior to the game between the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks in Game Four of the Western Conference First Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on April 18, 2017 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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Watch the New York Islanders take on the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of the 1987 Patrick Division Semifinals “The Easter Epic”.

In 1986-1987, the New York Islanders finished with a 35-33-12 record good enough for 82 points and third place in the Patrick Division. It was good enough to make the playoffs, but in no means were they the favorite.

In Round One, they took on the Washington Capitals who finished in second that year. After falling behind three games to one in the series, it looked like the Islanders were going to have an early exit from the playoffs.

Instead, they won Game 5 in convincing fashion 4-2. Then, in Game 6 on Coliseum ice they were able to win 5-4 to set the stage for one of the best playoff games of all-time.

Game 7 started out poorly as Mike Gartner netted his fourth goal of the series to give Washington a 1-0 lead after one period of play. In the second, the Islanders were able to get one back thanks to Pat Flately but let up the lead right before the period expired with a goal from Grant Martin.

With less than six minutes remaining in regulation, Bryan Trottier, who picked up an assist on the first goal, scored his fifth of the series to force overtime. An overtime Game 7, what’s better than that?

Well, it didn’t take just one overtime period. Each team would get a couple of power play chances in the second overtime period but neither team could capitalize as Kelly Hrudey and Bob Mason were locked in.

At this point, this Saturday night headliner went into the wee hours of Sunday morning, Easter morning to be exact (hence the name). 8:47 into OT period four, Pat LaFontaine finally send the Capitals home.

It was past 2:00 am in the morning before that goal was scored! To me, the story is both goalies. Hrudey stopped 73 of 75 shots for a .973 save percentage. Mason stopped 54 of 57 for a .947 save percentage.

Imagine getting 57 shots on net and still getting outshot by 18 shots! I wish it showed ice time for these guys but they played more than two games worth of hockey, that’s insane.

If you have some time on this Easter Sunday, here’s the full game condensed to just over three hours. Enjoy an Islanders classic!

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