|What was your favorite moment of 2013?|
Today, I want to discuss the 2013 Islanders one last time. After today, we look ahead. No more looking back, unless, of course, we are looking for comparisons. In today's piece, still less than one week since the Islanders were eliminated by the Pittsburgh Penguins, I want to go over my top ten moments of this Islanders' season.
What made it special? How did the Islanders get to where they are, and what moments stick out as the cause for the Islanders' turn around? After the jump, you will read Islanders Op-Timism's Top-10 Moments of the Islanders 2013 Lockout-Shortened NHL Season. I urge you to leave you top moments in the comments section.
Top Moments of 2013
Honorable Mention: John Tavares' one-handed game-winning shootout goal against the Senators (March 3, 2013)
10) Casey Cizikas Dumps Alex Galchenyuk into Isles Bench (March 5, 2013)
This one may just be out of sheer enjoyment. Montreal's Alex Galchenyuk received a breakout pass, but fumbled the puck. With his back against the boards, Galchenyuk got steamrolled by Casey Cizikas, who proceeded to dump Alex over the boards and into the Islanders' bench. That got the crowd going, and was probably one of the most memorable hits in the NHL this season.
9) Anders Lee Scores His First NHL Goal in his First NHL Game Against Winnipeg (April 2, 2013) Islanders' fans were anxiously awaiting the arrival of Notre Dame's Anders Lee. Fans were worried that Anders Lee would walk in free agency, never playing a game for the team that drafted him, but Lee signed for two years with the Islanders as soon as his team was eliminated from the big dance. Anders Lee was teased to suit up against the Devils the night before, but instead, he waited for Winnipeg. Only 16:13 into the game, Lee took the puck and fired it from the end-boards. His first NHL shot in his first NHL game turned out to be his first NHL Goal. Isles fans' erupted with "LEEEEE", and by the end of the game, Isles fans first started chanting "We want Playoffs!".
8) Brad Boyes' Overtime Winner Against the Devils (January 31, 2013)
This game was a lot of fun. The Islanders met with the Devils for the second time in less than two weeks. The Isles went ahead 2-0, blew it, pulled back in front, and then blew it again. With under ten minutes in the game, Mark Streit put the Islanders up 4-3, but Adam Henrique would score to tie the game two minutes later. The game would go to overtime, where Brad Boyes would score his first game-winning goal as a New York Islander, capping off a very impressive 3-1-1 road trip at the very start of the season.
7) John Tavares' Hat Trick Against Johan Hedberg and the Devils (February 16, 2013)
OK, I missed this game. I was on the flight back home from my vacation. Still, I was extremely happy to see all my text messages when I turned on my phone. John Tavares put 3 goals past Johan Hedberg, ending that "curse" of his. Hat tricks are very fun.
6) Beginning of the Road Warriors: The Islanders Come Back To Defeat The Montreal Canadiens (February 21, 2013)
This game was frustrating all around. MSG wasn't airing the Islanders' game. After finding a way to stream the game, the Islanders fell behind 2-0 in the first after getting out-shot 14-3. It was as brutal as it looks on paper. Anyways, the Islanders would some how tie the game, which would end with Thomas Hickey's first NHL goal - an overtime winner in front of a stunned Montreal crowd. The Isles stole one on the road. For the remainder of the season, the Isles would only lose three more games in regulation when on the road (two of them to the Penguins).
5) The Islanders Clinch Their First Playoff Berth Since 2007 After John Tavares Ties the Game! (April 23, 2013)
Yeah, I know the Islanders clinched. I have an issue moving this moment any higher, though, because the Islanders lost in a shootout to clinch it. Regardless, John Tavares made this one memorable. The Isles were stymied by Dan Ellis all night, but with 1:01 left in the game Tavares went to set-up Okposo. Instead of reaching it's intended target, the puck went off a Carolina defenseman and into the net! The Islanders were going to make the playoffs!
4) Start of a Magical Run: Evgeni Nabokov Earns His First Shutout On Nassau Coliseum Ice as a Member of the New York Islanders (March 24, 2013)
The Islanders were left for dead. They had just lost three games in a row on home ice after leading or being tied after two periods. They had one game left on this homestand - against the Florida Panthers. Nabokov would make 23 saves, including 10 saves in the final period, to earn a shutout. This kept the Islanders alive, and kicked off a run of 11-1-2 over their next 14 games.
3) Josh Bailey Shows His Worth in Boston (March 11, 2013)
It was the second game of a very difficult stretch for the Islanders. They just beat Philadelphia at home. They now had to play Boston, a team that nobody thought the Islanders would beat. The Islanders had no room for error, but Boston was a huge obstacle to overcome. The Islanders defeated the Bruins 2-1 behind two Josh Bailey goals. The Islanders were for real.
2) Isles Leave Fans With Real Hope Before They Depart for Season-Ending Five-Game Road-Trip (April 16, 2013)
This was a crucial point in the season. The Islanders were neck-and-neck with seed 5-9 in the Eastern Conference. With six games to go, the Isles would play their final home game of the season. The Florida Panthers have been, oddly, Islanders' killers during this rebuild, but the Islanders would score 3 goals in the opening period to feel safe. A 5-2 victory later, Isles' fans energized their team with a deafening "We Want Playoffs" chant, and Mart Streit basically guaranteed the team would return during his post-game speech. The Islanders kept their promise, and returned for hockey in May.
1) The Islanders Win Game Four Against The Penguins on Home Ice (May 7, 2013)
I have never been at a sporting event as good as this one. The Islanders took on the Pittsburgh Penguins, down 2-1 in their series The Islanders took the lead, but gave one up to tie the game. The same thing happened in the second period to tie the game at 2. Pittsburgh took their first lead, but Kyle Okposo tied it back up with just under two minutes into the period. Pittsburgh would strike early in the third to give the Pens a 4-3 lead. Mark Streit would tie the game. A falling John Tavares would pull the Islanders ahead, and Casey Cizikas would seal the victory, giving the Isles a 6-4 victory in Game Four, and their first playoff win on home ice since 2002.
Thanks for reading! What was your favorite moment of the Islanders' 2013 NHL season?
I'm Chris Triants, and this is my blog.
Let's go Islanders!