Bob Nystrom always wanted to be the hero he became for the NY Islanders

Rare NY Islanders Radio Call of Bobby Nystrom's OT Goal to Win First Stanley Cup
Rare NY Islanders Radio Call of Bobby Nystrom's OT Goal to Win First Stanley Cup / Marc Goldberg

Bob Nystrom's goal at 7:11 of overtime in Game 6 of the 1980 Stanley Cup Final is forever remembered as one of the most famous goals in hockey history. It gave birth to the New York Islanders dynasty and changed his life forever.

"I dreamt about it and thought about it a lot," recalled Nystrom in a Fox Sports New York feature from years ago. "I always wanted to be a hero, so when you're put in that situation, it's the thrill of a lifetime."

That forever moment was made possible because the Islanders blew a 4-2 third-period lead to the Philadelphia Flyers that sent the game into overtime. Heading back into the dressing room, the team's spirits were down, and Nystrom found a spot in the stick room to collect his thoughts. He bided time with the help of a scalpel, carving a chunk out of one of his sticks, thinking and saying to himself that he was going to be the one to score the game-winning goal.

"I'm sure everyone else thought the same thing because that's the attitude that we have.," said Nystrom. "Then I heard in the locker room, 'Who's gonna be the hero?' that was another thing that always happened, and everyone chimed in."

The hero would be Nystrom.

Time slowed down for him as he and John Tonelli crisscrossed over the blueline and into the Flyers zone. A flood of thoughts entered his mind, and what to do with the puck before he made a perfect deflection that sent the Nassau Coliseum into a frenzy. His team emptied the bench and joined him in the corner as fans pounded the glass, and some even made their way onto the ice.

"It allowed me to give my teammates something they always wanted," Nystrom said. "I rode their coattails a lot, and it was an opportunity for me to give them the goal that brought the Stanley Cup."

Unlike Mike Bossy, Denis Potvin, Billy Smith, and Bryan Trottier, Nystrom isn't a Hall-of-Famer. He wasn't an All-Star like Tonelli or a Conn Smythe winner like Butch Goring. Yet, his No. 23 hangs from the rafters at UBS Arena alongside them, something that perhaps isn't possible without his heroics in Game 6. "It changed my life," acknowledged Nystrom. "People remember me here probably more than other players, and for that, I'm very thankful."