The rivalry between the New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs has been a fun one, especially this year for Isles fans after last night's 3-2 win, resulting in the first regular season series sweep of the Leafs since the 1989-90 season.
As we know, much is often said about how Islanders fans treated John Tavares brutally when he returned to Long Island. The fans mercilessly booed throughout his video montage and still manage to boo him just about every time he touches the puck. Earlier this season, he was booed after scoring his 1,000th career point on an assist that tied the game late in the third period.
Leafs fans told us they were better; they were more cordial and respectful of their former players. Well, Pierre Engvall is one of the former players, a player who was in the Leafs organization for nearly a decade after being drafted in the seventh round of the 2014 NHL Draft. He played 226 games for the team, scoring 42 goals and 41 assists before being traded to the Islanders for a 3rd round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.
And what did the organization due for Engvall in his return? Did they put together an elaborate video montage? No. They must've been too busy hosting All-Star Weekend. Instead, they put up a still graphic of him to a smattering of applause. Did fans boo? No, most of them didn't even reach at all. They couldn't find it in their Canadian hearts to stand and applaud this fast but flawed forward from Sweden that called Toronto home for four seasons.
The mild-mannered Engvall ended up getting the last laugh. After Tavares tied the game at 2-2 with a power-play goal, it was Engvall backhanding a rebound through the legs of Ilya Samsanov with 2:02 remaining for his first goal since Jan. 2.
Noted Leafs mega-fan and personality Steve Dangle was watching the game live on SDPN and provided a most amusing play-by-play of the Engvall goal. "Oh, the Islanders scored! Off a rebound, and it's Pierre Engvall!!! ... you gotta be kidding, you gotta be joking! Nooooo!"
The Engvall reaction is priceless, the latest amusing chapter in this fun rivalry, which was tilted in the Islanders' favor this season. It brings out the best in friendly, sarcastic banter meant to get under the skin of your rivals and revel in their disappointment and despair.