With the new playoff format being voted on, the New York Islanders will take on the Florida Panthers in Round 1. Here’s the best moments from the last time.
The NHL is proposing a 24 team playoff when the league returns (whenever that may be). According to Sportsnet, that would have the Islanders as the 7th seed taking on the 10th seed for the right to play the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Yes, if you’re having deja vu it’s essentially the 2016 season all over again. In 2016, the Islanders took on the Panthers in Round 1 of the playoffs, advancing to the second round for the first time in 23 years.
Let’s take a look back at that playoff series for the five most memorable moments:
Number 5: Aaron Ekblad’s Goal Reversed
How often we forget how Reilly Smith came so close to ruining our lives in this series. It appeared like the Islanders were about to go down 3-0 to the Florida Panthers early in Game 3 but the Isles video crew decided to review the goal for offside.
The goal was deemed offside, and the comeback began. Instead of being down 3-0, a wild second period would ensue and after 40 minutes of play it was a 3-3 game. Shoutout to the legendary Islanders video guy, Matt Bertani.
Number 4: Thomas Hickey OT Winner Game 3
This moment also came in Game 3, like moment number five. After a very dramatic second period the Islanders forced overtime and nearly 13 minutes into OT this was the result.
The Isles needed this one, as they couldn’t afford to fall down in the series 2-1 after a disappointing series the year prior, the pressure would’ve certainly been evident at that point. Instead, it ensured that they would head back to Florida at 2-2 worse case scenario.
Number 3: Thomas Greiss Penalty Shot Stop
Alexander Barkov was awarded a penalty shot because of a defensive mistake from the Islanders. A penalty shot in a high-pressure situation like this is going to be a huge moment. With the entire building on its feet, Greiss came up huge and kept the Islanders alive in Game 5.
Number 2: Alan Quine OT winner
After Thomas Greiss came up huge in the first overtime period, it was Alan Quine who decided to play hero. The Islanders were on a power play (the fact that Marek Zidlicky, Quine, and Nikolai Kulemin were out on a power play is pretty gross) and Quine ripped a one-timer past Roberto Luongo who was great that night.
Thomas Greiss stopped 47 of 48 shots that night but Quine is going to get remembered as the unlikely hero.
Number 1: John Tavares Takes Over Game 6
It appeared like the Islanders were going to blow an opportunity to close the series out on home ice. Down 1-0 in the final minute, John Tavares scored maybe the easiest goal of his career as Luongo got a piece of it, not all of it, and left it sitting for JT.
Then in double overtime, for the second game in a row, the Captain got a wrap-around opportunity and made the most of it. Say what you will about the guy now, for good reason, but he stepped up in a huge spot for his team in this game and series.
The Islanders don’t advance without Thomas Greiss and John Tavares that’s a fact.
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This series will always be a special one for Islanders fans as it represents the 23-year end to a ton of pain and suffering as a fanbase. Hopefully sooner rather than later we’re treated to another classic series between these two teams.