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Islanders: Remembering The 1987 Easter Epic

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - CIRCA 1988: Pat LaFontaine #16 of the New York Islanders skates against the New Jersey Devils during an NHL Hockey game circa 1988 at the Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. LaFontaine's playing career went from 1983-98. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - CIRCA 1988: Pat LaFontaine #16 of the New York Islanders skates against the New Jersey Devils during an NHL Hockey game circa 1988 at the Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. LaFontaine's playing career went from 1983-98. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
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Happy Easter New York Islanders fans! Due to the 1987 playoffs, the Islanders and Easter will always have a special connection. 34 years ago, the Islanders and Capitals faced off in an epic Game 7 that carried over into Easter Sunday.

It was the Patrick Division Semifinals and after the first four games, the Isles found themselves down 3-1 in the series. Well, the Isles won Game 5 and Game 6 in order to force a decisive Game 7 in Washington.

In the first period, the Capitals would score first after controlling play most of the way when Mike Gartner was able to get one past Kelly Hrudey in net. Patrick Flatley would get the equalizer in the second period but before the period came to a close Grant Martin would add another one.

With just over five minutes remaining in the third, Islanders legend Bryan Trottier would tie the game up at two. After 60 minutes, overtime was needed between these two teams to decide a winner.

In the first overtime period, Kelly Hrudey and Bob Mason were putting on a clinic stopping everything that came their way. It would go to a second overtime where the fatigue would become more obvious with the skaters. Hrudey stopped 17 shots in the second OT frame to send it to a triple overtime.

In overtime three, the Islanders started to get more momentum. They outshot the Capitals 11-10 and had the better chances. For most of the game, the Islanders were just trying to hold on but that began to change at this point.

Heading to a fourth overtime period, essentially two games played at this point, the play became sloppy. With the game on his stick, Pat LaFontaine did not disappoint:

The Islanders would advance winning 3-2. It was now nearly 2 am local time, thus the name Easter Epic came into play for this instant classic. Some of the numbers for this game are just absolutely insane.

Bob Mason, the losing goalie, stopped 54 of 57 shots for a .947 save percentage while Kelly Hrudey stopped 73 of 75 for a .973 save percentage. Still, all these years later, it’s considered one of the best playoff games ever in the sport.

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