NY Islanders: Top 5 Electrifying Goals 2000-2010

Bates celebrates goal
Bates celebrates goal / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
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The start of the NHL season is sneaking up on us, as training camp and even preseason games have started to get underway. This season is going to be a special one for the NY Islanders and their fans, with it being the 50th anniversary of the team's inception into the NHL, and there will be plenty of reminiscing to be done by both old fans and new about their favorite moments watching the blue and orange.

The first decade of the new millennium for the Islanders wasn't the greatest time for the team, with them making the playoffs only four times during this time while missing it six years. Their best run as a squad was most certainly from the 2001-02 season until the 2003-04 season before the lockout, when they made the playoffs for three straight years and began what many called a "new era" in Islanders history.

Overall, they were a mediocre team, but a competitive one for the first half of this decade. Their best season came in 2001-02, finishing with 96 points in a breakout season for the team considering their major changes. Peter Laviolette was hired as a new head coach over from the Boston Bruins organization, and GM Mike Milbury made many significant moves to say the least for the Islanders. Most notably, he acquired forward Alexei Yashin from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Zdeno Chara and a second overall draft selection that turned out to be Jason Spezza. Yashin led the team in points this season with 75 points after signing a 10-year contract with the team. One of the more memorable seasons in Islanders history.

That season along with a few others produced some moments that Islanders fans still remember fondly while cheering in a packed Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Here are five of the most electrifying goals that have sent fans into a frenzy on Long Island from 2000-2010.

5. Jason Blake Scores 40th Goal

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Jason Blake was quite an underrated player over the course of his career with the Islanders. After going undrafted and then beginning his career with the Los Angeles Kings, the Islanders would take a flier on him by acquiring him for a 5th-round pick.

Blake would become a fan favorite with the team, as everyone admired his work ethic, his finishing ability, and his consistency at both ends of the rink. In his six years spent on the Island, he would register 258 points in 426 games. In a three-year span starting in the 2002-03 season and ending in 2005-06, he finished with 25, 22, and 28 goals respectively. Not bad at all for an undrafted player.

In his contract year with the team in 2006-07, Blake was one of the best if not the best forward on the team production-wise. He finished first on the team in goals and points by a decent margin, and it was highlighted by him scoring a career-high 40 goals.

This was the first 40-goal season for the Islanders since Zigmund Palffy scored 45 in 1997-98. There wasn't anybody that approached this at all until Blake scored his 40th at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Islanders fans recognized that this was the first 40th goal they have witnessed in almost a decade, and celebrated accordingly.

Toronto must have taken notice of this that day, as Blake would be signed by Toronto after the Islanders would be eliminated in the playoffs by the President's Trophy-winning Buffalo Sabres. He would also win the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in his first season as a Maple Leaf for playing all 82 games while being diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia. His last season with the Islanders and first with the Maple Leaf truly embodied the kind of player and person he is, and all fans recognized that.

4. Mark Parrish: First Isles Home Playoff Goal since '94

New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs / Graig Abel/GettyImages

The 2001-02 season was a breath of fresh air for Islanders fans as mentioned before. This was the first time that they made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in eight years, with the last being a sweep at the hands of the New York Rangers, who were also in the middle of a seven-year playoff drought during this season.

The Isles would finish with 96 points good for 5th place in the Eastern Conference, their best regular season points-wise since, unbelievably 1983-84. As one could imagine the older Islanders fans have been waiting a long time to see a regular season performance such as this where they are to be taken seriously. Even when they made their run to the Wales Conference Finals in 1992-93 with the likes of Pierre Turgeon, Ray Ferraro, Steve Thomas, and of course David Volek, they were always not very respected by the league and fans alike while being underdogs.

So naturally, with this being the first time they even sniffed the playoffs since 1994, Islanders fans must have been antsy to get the ball rolling at the newly renovated Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders had lost the first two games of this series in Toronto, so this game was a must-win for them. Toronto's Alexander Mogilny would score the ice-breaker at 7:32 of the first, which would be the Maple Leafs' sixth goal of the series. The Islanders only scored one goal in the series and came home after getting shut out in game two. That was until Mark Parrish, who scored 30 goals that season, scored on the power play with the crowd behind him to give the Coliseum faithful their first home playoff goal in eight years.

The Isles would win this game lopsidedly, by a score of 6-1. Winning in this fashion would send a message to the Maple Leafs that they were not there just to go through the motions, they were absolutely prepared to take this series to the distance.

3. Miroslav Satan Scores Game-Winner on Al Arbour Night

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Al Arbour is the greatest coach in the history of the NY Islanders by a country mile, and one of the greatest to ever step behind the bench in NHL history. He won 740 games as coach of the Islanders from 1973-74 to 1993-94, but that last win was one that all Islander fans remember fondly as it came on "Al Arbour night" on November 3rd, 2007.

This season was one of the least memorable in team history, with them finishing in last place in the Atlantic division with 79 points, and only finishing above the Atlanta Thrashers and Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference. But perhaps the highlight of the season was head coach Ted Nolan coming up with the idea to bring back the legendary coach for one more game.

Every day, Ted Nolan stared at the number on Arbour's mural that said 1499 games coached, and he just knew that it wasn't right and that he could do something about it.
Chris King, Islanders Radio play-by-play

Nolan would happily take the back seat as Arbour agreed to come back for one more game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team that would eventually make the Stanley Cup Finals that season. The game looked like it was heading in the wrong direction, as Pittsburgh took an early 2-0 lead. Trent Hunter would get the Islanders on the board midway through the second period, and then later Miroslav Šatan would tie the game at two.

It looked like this game was heading to overtime, but with 2:41 to go in the game, Šatan scored on a rebound to take the lead late in the third. The whole Coliseum was rooting for the Islanders to win of course, but more importantly, wanted this win for Arbour.

Arbour was never one for huge reactions after big plays, but this time he throws hands up in joy as was two minutes away from finishing his final game as an NHL coach. Players that he coached throughout his tenure, many of which were four-time Stanley Cup champions including Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, and Denis Potvin among others, were present and on the ice for the raising of the big 1500 banner that represents the long and successful 1500 games he coached on Long Island.

In the words of former Islanders play-by-play announcer Howie Rose, "Al Arbour is going to be a winner again."

2. John Tavares First NHL Goal

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders
Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

When a team drafts their next face of the franchise with a number one overall draft pick, there is anticipation that he can become the savior that the team needs. That was exactly the way Nassau Coliseum felt watching John Tavares score his first goal in the NHL.

The first game of the 2008-09 season was almost everything a suffering Islanders fan could have asked for, minus a win. They finished at the bottom of the league the previous season and won the NHL Draft Lottery to secure the first overall pick that they used to select Tavares. The fans would see their young core players such as Kyle Okposo, Matt Moulson, and Tavares on display for the first time against the rival Penguins. They would all register at least one point.

Tavares would first score his first assist earlier in the night off of a Mark Streit goal on a 5-on-3 just past the halfway mark of the first period. He then followed that up in the second period by burying his first NHL goal in his first NHL game past goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, which ignited the crowd.

Fans immediately got behind this, with this goal being the origin of the "John Ta-var-es" chants frequently heard by the Coliseum faithful when their franchise center would make big plays. Fans before this goal even happened were wearing 91 on the backs of their jerseys, and it became the easiest choice for fans to purchase as he would become a mainstay on the Island for years to come.

He's become a tremendous leader for our team. As he goes, we go.
Jack Capuano

The foreshadowing of the quality player the Islanders got in the draft that night was present, as Tavares would get Hart trophy votes twice as a member of the blue and orange, along with almost winning an Art Ross trophy in 2015. You can think whatever you want about him now after he departed New York in free agency in 2018 to play for the Maple Leafs, but his career as an Islander stands as one of the best since the Stanley Cup days, and that cannot be denied.

1. Shawn Bates Penalty Shot

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Even with all these electrifying moments on this list that almost brought the roof down on the barn, no moment may have been louder in the Coliseum's history than when Shawn Bates got called to skate in from center-ice against the Maple Leafs all the way back in 2002.

This playoff series came right in the middle of the two dead zones for Islanders playoff hockey. This iteration of the Isles made it for three straight years starting with this one, but never ended up making it past the first round. The Islanders were led by a young first-year head coach in Peter Laviolette, who would go on to win a Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes after his stint on the Island, along with names such as Yashin, Kenny Jönsson, Michael Peca, newly acquired goalie Chris Osgood that had his fair share of winning experience, and of course, Shawn Bates.

Bates had his best year in his career during this season. Along with being a strong forechecker and penalty killer, he scored 17 goals, with four of them being shorthanded, and finished fourth on the team in scoring with 52 points. A breakout season to say the least for Bates, considering this was his first with the Islanders and also the first where he wasn't jumping up and down from the minors. His coach during his time within the Boston Bruins pipeline was none other than Laviolette, so Bates was recruited when he left to coach on Long Island.

"He's the most talented player I saw come through the AHL when I was there. He has speed and he has ability that I don't think has been tapped yet."
Laviolette on Acquiring Bates

Bates got his true moment to shine in the playoffs this season. Late in a game where both teams traded goals back and forth, he had a chance to break the tie on a breakaway until former Islanders captain and Leafs defenseman Bryan McCabe took his legs out from under him. The referee points to center-ice signaling the so-called "most exciting play in hockey," a penalty shot with 2:30 to go in the third. Bates skated in with purpose and ripped an absolute rocket upstairs on goaltender Curtis Joseph. The crowd ignited into absolute anarchy knowing that this likely sealed the Leafs' fate that night.

The Islanders would hold on for two and a half minutes to tie the series at two games a piece. The Leafs and Islanders would go the distance to seven games, with the home team winning every game in the series. Unfortunately for the Isles, they were the away team in game seven and would go on to lose 4-2. They may not have had great postseason success during this three year era, but this moment still lives on as one of the loudest, memorable, and most electrifying moments in Islanders history.