NY Rangers star accomplishes playoff feat not seen since NY Islanders legend in 1977

New York Islanders
New York Islanders / Focus On Sport/GettyImages
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Whether New York Islanders fans want to admit it or not, the New York Rangers are doing some special things right now. Their 3-2 OT win versus the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night was their seventh straight win to start the postseason (same as they did in 1994), and the game-winning goal marked a first for an NHL player in nearly 50 years.

According to OptaStats, the social media account for Stats Perform, Blueshirts' forward Artemi Panarin is the second player in NHL history to have his first four goals of a single postseason all be game-winning goals. The other? Hall of Famer Clark Gillies in 1977.

Panarin was credited with the game-winning goals in Games 1 and 2 for the Rangers in their four-game sweep of the Washington Capitals. His third-period goal in Game 1 gave New York a 4-2 lead and ended up being the game-winner in the Rangers' 4-3 win to open the series vs. the Canes.

Gillies scored 33 goals as a 22-year-old during the 1976-77 season as Al Arbour's team finished the regular season with 106 points (47-21-12) and met the Chicago Blackhawks in the preliminary round of the post-season, which was a best-of-three series. After a 5-2 victory in Game 1, Gillies broke a 1-1 tie at 14:18 of the second period as the Islanders advanced with a 2-1 win.

Next, in their quarter-finals matchup with the Buffalo Sabres, it was Gillies again, this time scoring at 12:04 of the second period with the game tied at 2 to give the Isles the lead in Game 1. Jude Drouin would score later in the period, and Billy Smith made 37 saves in a 4-2 Isles win to open the series. The Sabres raced out to a 2-0 lead in the first period of Game 2 at the Nassau Coliseum until Bob Bourne and Bryan Trottier scored 2:41 apart late in the second to tie the game. Then, in the third, it was Gillies yet again, scoring at 8:30 of the period off an assist from Jean Potvin as the Isles went on to another 4-2 victory.

Gillies was among the heroes again in Game 3 as the series shifted to Buffalo when the Isles found themselves down 2-0 in the first period yet again. Billy Harris got them one back, and then Drouin scored twice to gain the lead after two periods. Gillies then extended the lead to 4-2 when he scored just nine seconds into the third. The Sabres scored midway through the period to cut the deficit to one, but the Isles held on for a 4-3 win to take a commanding 3-0 series lead.

We couldn't find footage of any of the Gillies' game-winning goals, but here a bout with Buffalo's Danny Gare early in the second period of Game 4 as the Isles swept the series with a 4-3 win. It was Billy MacMillan that had the game-winner inn the third period that night.

The Islanders would bow out of the playoffs to the defending Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens in six games the following round. Gillies finished his career with 47 playoff goals in 157 games with the Islanders. The four game-winners he scored in 1977 were all his post-season goals that season, but they all came when they were needed the most.

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