3. Josh Bailey: Game 1, to the Island
What all fans knew after this game ended is that they secured a 1-0 lead in the series against the rival Penguins once again thanks to Josh Bailey's overtime heroics. What fans at Nassau Coliseum did not know was that the call that Islanders play-by-play announcer Brendan Burke would become infamous with this playoff kick starter. Emphatically, "Game 1, to the Island!"
The 2018-19 season was defined by character and culture building for New York. The Islanders played this entire season with a life-sized chip on their shoulder after being counted out by everyone before the season even started, due to the departure of franchise center and captain John Tavares to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Many fans, even after the edition of Barry Trotz behind the bench did not expect this team to make it very far, but thanks to many players buying into the system and playing for each other, they were able to have their best season in a long time, finishing 2nd in the Metro with 103 points and a reputation of being one of the hardest teams to play against.
The Coliseum atmosphere was unmatched during their first-round series against Pittsburgh. They were granted permission to play in Uniondale for the first-round only, and then later at Barclays if they advanced any further, so fans had to relish what they had of at most three opportunities to enjoy playoff hockey at the Coli.
The game itself went back and forth all afternoon. Goals coming from Jordan Eberle, Brock Nelson, and Nick Leddy all contributed for the home team in a 3-2 score late into the third, until Pittsburgh defenseman Justin Schultz tied the game with 1:29 to go in the third, forcing OT. In the extra session. Barzal and Eberle find themselves on an odd-man rush, Barzy hits the post after undressing goaltender Matt Murray along with Brian Dumoulin, and Josh Bailey put the finishing touch on a fantastic first game. The Islanders would go on to sweep their division rivals and move on to the second round against the Carolina Hurricanes.